4. Learn about humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) grounds if needed

Will I be forced to leave Canada if I leave my abusive partner?
This question has an answer and 5 steps
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4. Learn about humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) grounds if needed

In some cases, you may be able to apply to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) grounds. This is an application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for permanent resident status.

Humanitarian and compassionate grounds or 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
  • what would happen if family members were separated
  • physical health or mental health concerns
  • family violence

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
  • poverty
  • discrimination based on religion, gender, or something else

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.

Process to apply

An H&C application has 2 stages: 

  1. You're allowed to apply for permanent residence in Canada for H&C reasons, and
  2. You're approved for permanent resident status in Canada.

To be successful, your application must be approved at both stages.

Because IRCC doesn't usually interview you, it is important to:

  • send the best evidence you have to support your application, and
  • explain all your reasons to stay in Canada.

Step 5 talks about the types of evidence you can use to show you lived with your partner and to prove abuse or neglect.

It is best to get legal help with an H&C application.

You May Also Need

CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario/Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario) (This resource is written for women in abusive relationships but might help anyone in an abusive relationship.)
Reviewed: August 31, 2017

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