135: Humanitarian and Compassionate Applications - When all else fails!

Show Notes for Canadian Immigration Podcast Episode 135: Humanitarian and Compassionate Applications - When All Else Fails!

Welcome to Episode 135 of the Canadian Immigration Podcast. In this episode, Mark Holthe and special guest Ronalee Carey, a Canadian immigration lawyer based in Ottawa, discuss the intricacies of Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) applications in Canada. This episode provides valuable insights for those considering an H&C application as a last resort for obtaining permanent residency in Canada.

You can watch the video of this episode on the Canadian Immigration Institute YouTube Channel. 

Key Highlights:

  1. Understanding H&C Applications: H&C applications are for individuals who are inside Canada and have compelling humanitarian or compassionate grounds that justify granting them permanent resident status. These applications are considered when other immigration pathways are not available or viable.

  2. Eligibility: Anyone inside Canada can apply for an H&C application, regardless of their status. However, there are specific exclusions, such as individuals with failed refugee claims within the first year and those inadmissible due to security concerns.

  3. Factors Considered: Immigration officers consider several factors, including establishment in Canada, ties to Canada, best interests of children, adverse country conditions, health considerations, consequences of family separation, inability to leave Canada, and unique or exceptional circumstances.

  4. Supporting Documents: Essential supporting documents include evidence of establishment in Canada, ties to family members, impact on children, country condition reports, medical reports, and any other documentation that supports the humanitarian and compassionate grounds of the application.

  5. Approval Chances: The approval rate for H&C applications varies, and it's important to note that these applications are highly discretionary. Success depends on the strength of the case and the compelling nature of the humanitarian and compassionate grounds presented.

  6. Process: H&C applications undergo a two-step process. The first step assesses the humanitarian and compassionate grounds, and if approved in principle, the applicant can apply for a work permit. The second step involves admissibility checks, including medical, criminal, and security screenings.

  7. Considerations: It's crucial for applicants to understand that H&C applications should be a last resort. Applicants must have exhausted all other immigration options, and the application should be well-documented and compelling to have a chance of success.

  8. Legal Advice: Given the complexity and discretionary nature of H&C applications, it's advisable to seek legal advice from experienced immigration lawyers to assess the viability of the application and ensure it is properly prepared and presented.


Humanitarian and Compassionate applications are a complex and discretionary aspect of Canadian immigration law. They offer a potential pathway to permanent residency for individuals who have compelling humanitarian or compassionate reasons and have no other viable immigration options. Understanding the factors considered, preparing a well-documented application, and seeking legal advice are crucial steps in navigating this challenging process.

For more information and assistance with Canadian immigration matters, visit Ronalee Carey's website at Ronalee Carey Law or watch this episode on Mark Holthe's Canadian Immigration Institute YouTube Channel at Canadian Immigration Institute.