Operational Bulletin 461 - August 3, 2012

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Requests for Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) Consideration Citing the November 2011 Temporary Pause on Acceptance of New Sponsorship Applications


This Operational Bulletin (OB) provides guidance to officers assessing in-Canada Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) applications from persons who claim to suffer hardship as a result of the November 2011 temporary pause on new sponsorship applications in the parents and grandparents category.


In November 2011, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism announced the Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification as a short term solution to address the backlogs in the parents and grandparents category. Phase 1 of the Action Plan:

  • increased the number of sponsored parents and grandparents Canada will admit from nearly 15,500 admissions in 2010 to 25,000 in 2012;
  • introduced the new “Parent and Grandparent Super Visa,” valid for up to 10 years, which allows applicants to remain in Canada for up to 24 months without having to renew their status. At the end of the 24 months they can apply to extend their status for up to 24 months;
  • committed to undertaking consultations with Canadians about how to redesign the parents and grandparents program to avoid future backlogs and be sensitive to fiscal constraints;
  • includes a temporary pause of up to 24 months on the acceptance of new sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents, to support backlog reduction.

For more information see OB 350 and OB 357.

H&C considerations — Temporary pause on new sponsorship applications cited as hardship for parents and grandparents

When parents and grandparents request H&C consideration in Canada and cite the temporary pause on sponsorships, officers could consider the following:

  • What, if anything, has changed in the circumstances of the applicant since the introduction of the temporary pause?
  • Has the applicant received an extension of a visitor visa, been issued either a multiple entry visa or a “super visa”? What, if anything, has changed in the circumstances of the applicant since the issuance of or the extension of their visitor visa?
  • What is the general hardship experienced by the other parents and grandparents affected by the temporary pause? Would the applicant experience more significant hardship than that generally experienced by the other parents and grandparents affected by the temporary pause?

As in all H&C applications, all the circumstances (with the exception of those excluded by the legislation in section 25 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act) should be examined and taken into consideration in the final decision. The hardship of the temporary pause, viewed in the context of the impact of the pause on all applicants, will normally be one consideration of many. A positive Stage 1 assessment should normally occur in circumstances in which all of the factors taken together result in the conclusion that the hardship suffered would be unusual and undeserved, or disproportionate.

As described in the IP5 manual chapter, Immigrant Applications in Canada Made on Humanitarian or Compassionate Grounds, an unusual and underserved hardship must be, in most cases, a hardship not anticipated or addressed by the Act or Regulations, and the result of circumstances beyond the person’s control. Applicants could also receive a positive Stage 1 assessment if they demonstrate that the hardship of not being granted the requested exemption(s) would have an unreasonable impact due to their personal circumstances.

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