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Supreme Court of Canada Issues Ruling in Kanthasamy v. Canada

On December 10, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada issued a much-anticipated ruling in the immigration case, Kanthasamy v. Canada.

In Kanthasamy, the court was asked to clarify the standard of review in immigration decisions based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

In sum, the Supreme Court held that immigration officials should approach the humanitarian and compassionate relief guidelines as a whole and consider the particular circumstances of the applicant when making an immigration determination. The Supreme Court’s decision is likely to have a substantial impact on how immigration officials make decisions when confronted with applications for humanitarian and compassionate relief.

Humanitarian and Compassionate Relief

Under immigration law, individuals who would not usually be eligible for permanent residence in Canada may have an option to file an immigration application based on humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) grounds.

When considering H&C applications, immigration officials consider several things about the applicant, including how settled the person is in Canada, their family connections in Canada, the best interests of any children, and what might happen to the applicant if forced to return to his or her home country.

Before the Supreme Court’s decision in Kanthasamy, immigration officials considered whether an applicant would be subjected to “unusual and undeserved or disproportionate hardship” should immigration officials reject the person’s application. This hardship was generally defined as an unreasonable hardship and something the applicant could not control.

The Supreme Court’s Decision in Kanthasamy

In its decision, the Supreme Court said immigration officials should not treat the “unusual and undeserved or disproportionate” criteria as three separate factors an applicant must satisfy, as this may result in an unduly narrow approach. Rather, immigration officials should use the criteria as a guideline and apply each applicant’s individual circumstances as a whole to the required standards. The Supreme Court also affirmed that hardship alone is not enough to qualify an applicant for H&C relief.

Butkowsky Immigration Law

With more than two decades of experience focused exclusively on immigration and refugee law, Larry Butkowsky has earned the respect of the Toronto legal community and the gratitude of many satisfied clients. He is committed to protecting his clients’ rights and making sure that they achieve their Canadian immigration dreams. Call (416) 979-2127 to discuss your immigration matters.

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