Monday, July 11, 2011

The Court set aside an H & C determination holding the officer failed to adequately assess the H & C factors:
First, with respect to integration, the Officer’s noted that the applicant had made friends through school and work, and was reasonably integrated into Canadian society, but that the integration was not out of the ordinary. This conclusion was open to the Officer, even though her lack of community involvement is certainly understandable (considering that the applicant was both studying and working during the four year period considered).
[9] In contrast, the Officer’s conclusion regarding the applicant’s family situation in Canada is not reasonable. The Officer dismissed the applicant’s argument in two sentences, stating that all family members other than her siblings were cousins or spouses of cousins, and that her parents and other family members are in Lebanon. In doing so, the Officer revealed a complete lack of consideration for the enhanced importance that family plays in Middle Eastern culture, and ignored or otherwise dismissed without proper reasoning and explanations, relevant evidence.
[10] More particularly, the applicant’s personal statement speaks eloquently to her close connection to her family in Canada. The applicant also explains that she is not close to her father’s family, which is back in Lebanon, because they disapproved of her parents’ marriage. Rather, she is very close to her mother’s family, of which a large number of members are in Canada. The applicant also discusses the fact that her parents hope to immigrate to Canada, which would leave the applicant alone in Lebanon. The Officer’s decision to reject this as a possible ground for H&C consideration is unreasonable, in light thereof.
[11] The Officer’s discussion of the possible difficulties awaiting the applicant in Lebanon completely misses the point. The Officer only discusses the fact that the applicant knows the language and the culture, and could live with her parents. The applicant does not deny that she knows the language and the culture, or that she could live with her parents in Lebanon (even though she did state that she is more comfortable in English than in Arabic, and that her parents eventually intend to immigrate to Canada). Regardless, the real problem with the Officer’s reasons is that neither point was among the grounds that the applicant suggested to justify her H&C application.
[12] Again, the issue before the Officer was not whether the applicant had a place to live in Lebanon, or whether she was familiar with the culture and language, but rather, whether she would suffer discrimination based on her status as a single, female Syrian Muslim. The Officer’s focus on the applicant’s having somewhere to stay in Lebanon and the ability to communicate is misplaced. While accepting that the Officer is better placed to weigh the evidence, insufficient reasons have been provided to dismiss the claim that constant discrimination in Syria would constitute unusual and undeserved or disproportionate hardship in view of her personal situation.

Citation: 
2011 FC 865
Key Issues: 
H & C set aside, Inadequate reasons, Failure to properly assess evidence

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