There are often roadblocks in coming to Canada or bringing your family members to Canada.

Foreign nationals can be denied admission into Canada pursuant to s.39 of the Act -if there are concerns that they will rely on social assistance. After all, the objectives of the IRPA include the pursuit of the maximum economic benefits of immigration as well as the support and development of “a strong and prosperous Canadian economy” According to the relevant Manual, the provision is “designed to exclude persons intending to live or who are living on social assistance and to prevent the abuse of Canada’s social services systems.”

Financial reasons 

39 A foreign national is inadmissible for financial reasons if they are or will be unable or unwilling to support themself or any other person who is dependent on them, and have not satisfied an officer that adequate arrangements for care and support, other than those that involve social assistance, have been made.

Financial inadmissibility should not be conflated with financial eligibility. This provision usually doesn’t come up that often as there are other (regulatory) safeguards against foreign nationals posing a risk to Canadian services systems.

  • All economic class applicants (other than those already working in Canada and applying under the Canadian Experience Class) need to provide evidence of settlement funds with their application for permanent residence.
  • Most family class sponsors/applicants (such as a sponsorship application for parents/grandparents) need to not be on social assistance (other than for a disability) and meet certain income thresholds (the “Minimum Necessary Income” or “MNI” currently set at 30% over and above the Low Income Cut Off threshold)3 or are exempt (such as Protected Persons). Note: the MNI and financial inadmissibility are related; but one deals with eligibility and the latter deals with inadmissibility.
  • Proof of funds/support are required of those that seek Temporary Resident Visas to Canada.
  • Refugee applications made outside require private sponsorship groups to have a comprehensive settlement plan with financial support as a primary component.

Thus, this section is generally utilized in cases where there is no threshold financial eligibility. This provision generally comes into play in spouse or common-law partner/conjugal partner applications outside Canada or the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada class. This provision can also be utilized where applicants have applied under s.25(1) (H&C applicants). These applicants may also be refused on these grounds if they are currently on social assistance and/or fail to provide evidence that they are self-supporting or fail to disabuse an Officer that they would seek recourse to social assistance in the future. Of course, the Officer in assessing the application can exercise their discretion under s.25(1) to excuse the applicant from the operation of s.39 itself.

The use of this blunt instrument can be concerning where there is evidence of physical or mental challenges that may prevent economic self-sufficiency (for example, where an eligible sponsor in Canada is reliant on provincial income support by reason of a disability and the Officer assumes that the person concerned will seek social assistance).

If there are any concerns, an Officer generally will put their concerns to the applicant/person concerned in the form of a Procedural Fairness Letter. It is important to provide a substantive response, once that addresses the concern about present or future reliance on social assistance.

If the Officer is still not convinced, there may be other options.

Contact one of our experienced lawyers for further information regarding financial or other inadmissibility issues.

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