H&C Applications – Humanitarian and Compassionate Canada

Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds ApplicationAmani is a citizen of the Republic of South Sudan. He was an international student in Canada when South Sudan gained its independence in 2011. Amani was a successful student and completed his Master’s degree in Canada. He started working in Canada on a Post-Graduate Work Permit. Unfortunately, doctors diagnosed Amani with a rare disease six months ago. Since the condition is a substantial financial burden for the Canadian immigration system, Amani will be inadmissible to Canada on health grounds. South Sudan won’t be able to offer Amani the treatments he needs. On the other hand, Amani has established himself in Canada in the past few years. Amani wonders if he could immigrate to Canada under Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds (H&C). 

The Canadian immigration system offers many opportunities for immigration. Despite all those opportunities, this system is full of limitations. One of the limitations is inadmissibility to Canada. If a person is inadmissible to Canada, they may not immigrate to Canada, even if they meet all the requirements. In fact, there are nine main reasons for inadmissibility, namely:

  1. Security;
  2. Human or international rights violations;
  3. Serious criminality;
  4. Criminality;
  5. Organized criminality;
  6. Health grounds;
  7. Financial reasons;
  8. Misrepresentation; and
  9. Non-compliance with the Immigration Act (IRPA).

If you wish, read the following article for more information about inadmissibility.

Sometimes the applicant is admissible, but they do not fully meet the requirements of an immigration option to Canada. In both situations, (i.e. inadmissibility or not meeting the requirements), a person could immigrate to Canada under the Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds (H&C).

What is an H&C application?

Suppose you want to immigrate to Canada, but you do not meet the requirements of an application, or you are inadmissible to Canada. In this situation, if you have enough humanitarian reasons, the officer may issue your permanent residency.  Keep in mind the following issues.

  • H&C applications are for Canadian permanent residency.
  • They highly depend on the judgement of a trained officer. The refusal rate on these applications is very high.
  • Your humanitarian reasons need to overcome any inadmissibility or lack of requirements issues.
  • No H&C is available for these types of inadmissibilities: Security, human rights violations or organized criminality.

H&C application factors

When you submit an H&C application, the officer considers the following factors before making a decision.

  • What are the best interests of the minor children who are affected by the decision?
  • Can the country of the applicant provide the healthcare services they need?
  • What are the ties of the applicant to Canada, and how established are they in our country?
  • Will they face family violence if they go back to their home country?
  • What is the potential hardship they face if they go back to their home country?
  • Are there any negative consequences for the relatives due to their separation?
  • How difficult is it for them to leave Canada?
  • Are they able to establish their lives in Canada?
  • Is there any specific factor that justifies the issuance of permanent residency?

Keep in mind that this list is only a guideline. An officer may look into many other factors to make a decision. The officers heavily rely on the documents you provide. However, they may also conduct their research.

Remember, if you present issues that show you are a refugee, then the officer may refuse your H&C request. Consult with a professional to make sure you are not a refugee.

Two different types of H&C applications

There are two different ways to submit a Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds Application.

  1. You may submit a regular application package to the immigration authorities, but you include all H&C documents in the package. Make sure to mention you are requesting an exemption under the H&C grounds.
  2. If you are already in Canada, then you may prepare a standalone H&C application and then submit it to the local processing centre responsible for such applications. The current processing centre responsible for H&C cases is in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Due to the complexities of H&C cases, you need to consult with an immigration professional. Do not do it yourself!

Two stages of an in-Canada H&C application

If you submit your application in Canada, the officer reviews the application and then either refuse your request or approves the H&C elements of it. If they accept the H&C aspects, or instead you pass then stage one, then you may request the following:

The second stage of the processing includes medical examinations and background checks for potential inadmissibility. Of course, the background check does not include those elements that the officer ignores because of H&C grounds. For example, if someone is inadmissible because of criminality, then the officer ignores criminality in the background check. However, they consider the other eight grounds of inadmissibility.

H&C applications for other situations

Sometimes permanent residents of Canada lose their permanent residency because they did not stay in Canada enough. In these situations, they may request to keep their permanent residency based on humanitarian and compassionate considerations.

While H&C does not apply to temporary applications such as TRV, eTA, work permit, or study permit, you may include those elements in your application. The officers have no mandate to accept H&C for temporary applications, though.

Alternatives to H&C applications

Depending on the specifics of your application, you sometimes may try alternative options such as,

  • Receiving a record suspension (pardon) for criminal history in Canada
  • Asking for rehabilitation for criminal history outside Canada
  • Requesting a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP)
  • Claiming refugee status in Canada
  • Applying for a Declaration of Relief under subsection 42.1(1) of the IRPA for inadmissibility to Canada under section 34 (security) paragraphs 35(1)(b) or (c) (human or international rights violations), or subsection 37(1) (organized criminality) of the IRPA
  • In the case of inadmissibility due to misrepresentation, waiting for five years and then apply
  • Finding alternative immigration options under which you meet all the requirements

If you wish to visit or move to Canada, please fill out our free assessment form. We will review it for free, but we will contact you only if we find an opportunity for you. Alternatively, you may book a consultation session. Consultation sessions are not free, but you will receive formal advice from a licenced practitioner.

Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada


This article provides information of a general nature only. Considering the fluid nature of the immigration world, it may no longer be current. Of course, the item does not give legal advice. Therefore, do not rely on it as legal advice or immigration advice. Consequently, no one could hold us accountable for the content of these articles. Of course, if you have specific legal questions, you must consult a lawyer. Alternatively, if you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment.

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All the characters and locations in the articles are fictional, unless otherwise clearly stated. Therefore, any resemblance in names, dates, and places is coincidental.

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Al Parsai

Al Parsai is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) in Toronto, Canada. He also teaches the official immigration consulting courses at Ashton College in Vancouver, Canada. Al who holds a Masters degree from Yorkville University is a member of ICCRC and CAPIC organizations. Al, the CEO of Parsai Immigration Services, has represented hundreds of applicants from more than 30 countries to the immigration authorities since January 2011.