Supreme Court decision on humanitarian decisions welcomed

Media release

For immediate release

Supreme Court decision on humanitarian decisions welcomed

10 December 2015

The Canadian Council for Refugees welcomes the Supreme Court decision rendered today clarifying how immigration officers should decide applications for humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) consideration. Many refugees and vulnerable migrants must rely on H&C provisions in order to remain in Canada or to be reunited with family members.

The Court favoured a flexible and responsive approach to H&C and rejected the rigid application of narrow guidelines. The ruling should help to ensure that the situation of applicants is fully and appropriately considered, rather than being limited by rigid application of a specific test (“unusual and undeserved hardship”).

The Kanthasamy decision reinforces the need to give priority to seriously considering the best interests of the child. This is particularly welcome as H&C decisions have in the past sometimes been so restrictive in the analysis of the best interests of the child as to be largely meaningless.

The CCR also welcomes the Court’s directions regarding flexible and realistic evaluation of evidence of mental health issues, including expert reports that the person is suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  

The CCR was an intervener in the case, represented by David Matas, Jamie Liew, Rick Goldman, Jennie Stone and Michael Bossin.


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More information

Supreme Court decision:

CCR factum 


Colleen French, Communication Coordinator, 514-277-7223, ext. 1, 514-602-2098 (cell),