Humanitarian & Compassionate (H&C)

Humanitarian & Compassionate (H&C)

Humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) consideration provides the flexibility to grant permanent residence status or a permanent resident visa to certain foreign nationals who would otherwise not qualify in any class, in cases in which there are compelling H&C grounds.  Humanitarian and compassionate grounds apply to people with exceptional cases.

Factors for H&C consideration

The applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis. Several factors are considered in the application process, including:

  • How settled the person is in Canada?
  • General family ties to Canada
  • The best interests of any children involved, and
  • What could happen to the applicant if request is not granted?
  • Factors in applicant’s country of origin including adverse country conditions.
  • Applicant’s health considerations including inability of a country to provide medical treatment.
  • Family violence considerations.
  • Consequences of the separation of relatives.
  • Any unique or exceptional circumstances that might merit relief.


The H&C decision-making process is a highly discretionary one that considers whether a special grant of an exemption from a requirement of the Act is warranted. This means that officers have a lot of freedom in deciding these applications. Officer’s decision is based on evidence and information provided in the submission. The onus is entirely upon the applicant to be clear in the submission as to exactly what hardship they would face if they were not granted the requested exemption(s). Because there is usually no interview, it is important to send the best possible evidence to support the application and explain all the reasons to stay in Canada.

Important Points

  • If applicant has an order to leave Canada (this is called a removal order), he/she may be able to apply to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, unless any of the above restrictions apply to them. If the applicant applies, this will not prevent or delay the removal from Canada. The applicant must leave on or before the date stated on removal order. The government will still process the application even the applicant has to leave Canada. There is no right to appeal a refused application for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. In some cases, the applicant can ask the Federal Court of Canada to review the decision.
  • The applicant may only ask for humanitarian and compassionate grounds if he/she is applying for permanent resident status in Canada, or for a permanent resident visa abroad
  • Applicant cannot have more than one humanitarian and compassionate grounds application at the same time.
  • Different risk factors such as persecution, risk to life, cruel and unusual treatment or punishment are not assessed under H&C grounds.
  • An H&C application does not prevent you from being deported, unless you are
    waiting for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA).

Frequently Asked Questions

The Comprehensive Ranking System is a points-based system used to assess and score a candidate's profile to rank them in the Express Entry pool. Points are awarded for factors including age, education, language proficiency in English or French, work experience (both in Canada and internationally), and other factors. The higher the score, the better the chances of receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residency.