Humanitarian and compassionate assessment: Threshold of proof

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Applies to

  • in Canada
  • overseas

Fact finding should be done using the usual standard of proof in administrative law: Balance of probabilities — is it more likely than not that the evidence or information presented is true?

A lower standard of proof, reasonable grounds to believe, may be used to assess inadmissibility. In this regard, A33 of IRPA provides “The facts that constitute inadmissibility under A34 to A37 include facts arising from omissions and, unless otherwise provided, include facts for which there are reasonable grounds to believe that they have occurred, are occurring or may occur.”

Once all elements of the case have been determined, using the appropriate standard of proof, officers should assess all facts in the application and decide whether granting permanent resident status or an exemption from any applicable criteria or obligations of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act is justified by humanitarian and compassionate considerations.

Element Standard of proof
Fact finding Balance of probabilities
Inadmissibility Reasonable grounds to believe

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