Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds Definition:

A criteria of immigration law; an unusual, undeserved or disproportionate hardship caused to a person seeking consideration.

 In Vidal, Justice Strayer Canada's Federal Court remarked favourably on these Federal guidelines in reference to humanitarian and compassionate grounds:

"Humanitarian and compassionate grounds exist when unusual, undeserved or disproportionate hardship would be caused to a person seeking consideration....

"Economic and establishment situations alone would not normally constitute grounds for a positive humanitarian and compassionate recommendation.

"Situations involving family ... e.g. parents, children and other relatives or family members of Canadian residents. This may also apply to a person, not necessarily related by blood to the Canadian resident, but who is a de facto part of the family. The requirement to leave Canada and to apply abroad in the normal manner could result in undue hardship because of the would be immigrant's financial or emotional dependency on family in Canada....

"Consideration should be given where there exists a special situation in the person's home country, and undue hardship would likely result from removal. Such persons might face severe government sanctions on returning home because of things they have said or done while in Canada...."

In BakerJustice Claire l'Heureux-Dube wrote:

"Applications for permanent residence must, as a general rule, be made from outside Canada..... One of the exceptions to this is when admission is facilitated owing to the existence of compassionate or humanitarian considerations."


  • Baker v Canada, [1999] 2 S.C.R. 817, 243 N.R. 22, 1 Imm. L.R. (3d) 1, 14 Admin. L.R. (3d) 173, , 174 D.L.R. (4th) 193, [1999] S.C.J. No. 39, 89 A.C.W.S. (3d) 777
  • Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c. 27, §25
  • Vidal v. Canada, 13 Imm. L.R. (2d) 123, 49 Admin. L.R. 118, 41 F.T.R. 118, 25 A.C.W.S. (3d) 709
  • Yhap v. Canada, 9 Imm. L.R. (2d) 243, [1990] 1 F.C. 722, 34 F.T.R. 26

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