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What does "best interests of a child" mean?

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) (formerly Citizenship and Immigration Canada or CIC) must consider the best interests of any child under the age of 18 who could be directly affected by the decision on an H&C application. This could include:

  • the applicant's child, no matter where the child was born and where they live — whether in Canada or elsewhere,
  • a child in Canada who is not the applicant's child, but with whom the applicant has a close relationship

In some situations, this could include a child who is 18 or older.

Factors affecting best interests of a child

Some of the things that could have an impact on the best interests of a child include:

  • the child's age
  • the relationship between the child and the applicant or between the child and others — for example, if the child is forced to leave Canada with the applicant this could affect the child's relationship with others in Canada
  • how long the child has been in Canada
  • the child's ties to the applicant's country of origin
  • any medical issues or special needs
  • impact on the child's education
  • issues relating to a child's gender — for example, customs that girls and women in the applicant's country of origin have to follow

IRCC must pay close attention to the child’s interests when it decides whether the reasons to accept an H&C application are strong enough. Some things may have a much greater impact on a child than on an adult. So the same facts might make an H&C application stronger if a child would be affected.

Last updated: Apr 11, 2016


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