Humanitarian and Compassionate: Recording the reasons for an H&C decision

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

See also recording the interview.

When writing H&C decisions keep the following in mind:

  • Record all the factors, both positive and negative, that were considered in order to make a decision.
  • Explain your thought process. Make no assumptions; fill in the gap between the facts listed and your decision.
  • Avoid absolute statements like “there is no evidence” or “there would be no hardship”; usually what we really mean is that there is insufficient evidence or insufficient hardship.
  • Use neutral terms.
    • For example, it is preferable to say, “he states” rather than “he claims” or “he admits”.
  • When possible, avoid strong comments on the credibility of the information.
    • For example, if you write “I do not believe”, this suggests that you are questioning credibility. In this case, you need to demonstrate that you have fully investigated the issue (e.g. interviewed applicant). If you use the phrase “I am not satisfied”, it is less contentious and keeps the onus on the applicant to satisfy you.
  • Comment on the evidence rather than the inference you draw from the evidence.
    • For example, don’t comment on whether or not a common-law couple has a close relationship; comment on whether sufficient evidence has been submitted to satisfy you that there is a genuine relationship.
  • Once you are satisfied that you have adequately addressed an issue, don’t go any further by trying to reinforce your decision.
  • Notes should be written in simple, straightforward and dispassionate language.
  • Record how the applicant was provided with an opportunity to satisfy you of the H&C considerations in relation to their case.

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