Humanitarian and Compassionate Consideration

Humanitarian and Compassionate Consideration

Canada has pledged to assist some individuals who would not typically be eligible for permanent residency in Canada. Humanitarian and compassionate grounds individuals may be eligible to apply for Canadian permanent residency.

Humanitarian and compassionate grounds apply to people with exceptional cases and applications are assessed on the individual case-by-case basis.

Humanitarian and compassionate grounds applicants are assessed on factors which include:

  • How settled is the person in Canada; and
  • How settled is the person in the community they are in; and
  • What general family ties does the person have in Canada; and
  • What are the best interests of any children involved; and
  • What could happen to the person if Canada does not grant the request; and
  • What other rules that apply with regards to humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

Humanitarian and Compassionate Consideration will only be considered if a candidate is applying for permanent resident status in Canada, or a candidate is applying for a permanent resident visa abroad.

Canada does not consider humanitarian and compassionate grounds requests from temporary resident applicants.

Canada does not assess risk factors such as persecution, the risk to health or life, cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.

Applicants are allowed only one humanitarian and compassionate grounds application at a time.

Humanitarian and compassionate grounds applicants cannot apply if they already have a pending refugee claim. Refugee Claim candidates must withdraw refugee claim before their Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) hearing to be allowed to apply and be considered as humanitarian and compassionate grounds applicants.

IRB candidates who have had an adverse decision within the last 12 months may not apply for humanitarian and compassionate grounds. This ruling is called the “one-year bar.” (If the Immigration and Refugee Board decides a candidate’s refugee claim is abandoned or withdrawn, it considers this as a negative decision.)

The one-year bar does not apply if:

  • A candidate has children under 18 who would be negatively affected if the candidate was removed from Canada; or
  • A candidate has proof that they or one of their dependants suffers from a life-threatening medical condition that cannot or would not be treated in the candidate’s home country.


Irregular Arrivals

A non-Canadian group of people who enter Canada in a way that is against the law; or

A non-Canadian group of people try to enter Canada in a way that is against the law can be considered an “irregular arrival.”

Specific rules and restrictions apply to these ‘irregular arrival’ non-Canadian people.

If a candidate got here as part of an “irregular arrival,” the candidate is “Designated Foreign National.” The Minister of Public Safety will issue the candidate a written declaration if a candidate is a Designated Foreign National.

Designated Foreign Nationals cannot apply for humanitarian and compassionate grounds until five years have passed from:

  • the day a candidate became a designated foreign national and/or
  • the day the IRB made a final negative decision on a candidate’s refugee claim and/or
  • the day a candidate received an undesirable decision on a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment.

If a candidate applied for humanitarian and compassionate grounds, but then became a designated foreign national, the candidate’s humanitarian and compassionate grounds application must be suspended for five years from the date:

  • a candidate was selected; or
  • a candidate received an unfavourable decision from the IRB; or
  • a candidate received a negative Pre-Removal Risk Assessment

A “Removal Order” as an Order to Leave Canada.

Removal Orders

A candidate may be eligible to apply to stay in Canada on Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds, as long as a candidate does not have any of the above restrictions.

If a candidate applies to stay in Canada on Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds, this will not prevent or delay the candidate’s removal from Canada.

If a candidate has a removal order, the candidate must leave Canada on or before the date stated on the removal order.

Canada will still process the candidate’s application even if the candidate has had to leave Canada. The candidate will be informed in writing about the decision on the candidate’s case.


Canada does not provide or guarantee a right to appeal an application for permanent residence, on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, which has been refused.

In some cases, a candidate can ask the Federal Court of Canada to review the decision. More information is provided in the application package.

Candidates must remember to keep their application up-to-date. Any and all changes in circumstances to a candidate’s application are the sole responsibility of the candidate. If decision makers do not have up to date information on a candidate’s application, the candidate may be refused entry, or if they have been given a removal order, the candidate may be required to leave and not reconsidered for a 12-month period. The 12-month rule is in place so that decision-makers have all the information that you want them to consider for your application.


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