4. Learn about H&C applications
Question & AnswerI’m not a Canadian citizen. Will I be forced to leave Canada if my partner and I separate or divorce?
You may be able to make a humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) application to stay in Canada. This is an application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for permanent resident status.
You must show why you believe there are humanitarian and compassionate reasons to allow you to stay in Canada. These reasons can be anything that makes others feel compassion and want to help.
And if there is a child who would be directly affected if you had to return to your home country, it’s important to explain this. IRCC must consider what’s in the child’s best interests.
Some of the reasons you might give can include things like:
- how established or settled you are in Canada
- your ties to Canada, including family ties and parenting arrangements
- if you’re paying or
- what would happen if family members were separated
- any physical health or mental health concerns you have
- the impact of you have experienced or will experience if you have to return to your home country
It’s also important to explain any hardship you or your children might face if you had to return to your own country, including:
- laws, practices, or customs that might put you at risk
- lack of adequate health care
- discrimination based on religion, gender, or something else
- loss of employment and ability to pay the amount of child support or spousal support you’re currently paying
How IRCC decides
The decision on an H&C application is “discretionary”. This means that IRCC has a lot of freedom in deciding these applications. But they have to decide based on the evidence they have.
You need to give IRCC evidence to support your application. What to use as evidence depends on your situation.
An H&C application has 2 stages:
- You’re allowed to apply for permanent residence in Canada for H&C reasons, and
- You’re approved for permanent resident status in Canada.
To be successful, your application must be approved at both stages.
Making an H&C application doesn’t give you the right to remain in Canada until the application is decided. Before you apply, talk to a lawyer to find out about the risk that you’ll be forced to leave Canada.
A lawyer can also:
- explain the H&C process
- help you know what evidence you need
- help you make your application