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  • Writer's pictureMatkowsky Immigration Law

Procedural Fairness Letters

Updated: Mar 7, 2020

A Procedural Fairness Letter is commonly issued for the following reasons:

  • Misrepresentation

  • ​Medical Inadmissibility

  • Criminal Inadmissibility

  • ​Genuineness of the relationship

  • Express Entry: Wrong NOC, employment letter, insufficient evidence

  • Security Reasons

If you find yourself in a situation where IRCC sends you a Procedural Fairness Letter (PFL) it is extremely important to submit a detailed response with strong factual arguments. Most individuals do not appreciate the seriousness of the situation; they decide to respond on their own, usually with a very weak response which leads to a refusal. This is the one, single time IRCC is providing an opportunity to respond before the application is refused. It is highly recommended to retain professional help to submit a proper response, as there will not be another opportunity provided later. Sometimes, a refused application will also come with serious consequences such as becoming Inadmissible to Canada with a 5-year ban for Misrepresentation.

If you received a Procedural Fairness letter, it is recommended to retain a professional to prepare a strong and sufficient response. Matkowsky Immigration Law can help.

Misrepresentation: subsection 40(1)​

IRCC may determine an individual misrepresented if they believe they were not not truthful in an application. This can arise if a person deliberately (or mistakenly) provided false information on the forms or fraudulent documents. Sometimes, merely failing to disclose a previous refusal of a visa to USA, Australia or another country on an application will result in Inadmissibility for Misrepresentation and a 5 year ban to Canada. Sometimes, IRCC makes an error in judgement when reviewing an application. This matter needs to be clarified in a sufficient manner to avoid the application being refused and being banned from Canada.

Medical Inadmissibility: subsection 38(1)

Individuals with a medical issue may be found Medically Inadmissible to Canada if IRCC believes that the individual will incur excessive demand on health care or social service costs in excess of $20,517 CAD per year. This is common for Parental Sponsorship applications due to the age of elderly parents and sometimes on other Permanent Resident applications. A proper response must be submitted to the Procedural Fairness Letter, along with secondary opinion / diagnoses and medical plan. Matkowsky Immigration law has extensive experience with these medical cases and can help.

Criminal Inadmissibility: subsection 36(1) and subsection 36(2)

If an applicant has a previous criminal issue from Canada or another country, they can be found Criminally Inadmissible to Canada which can prevent them (and other family member in the application) from obtaining Permanent Residence status, or a Temporary Resident Visa and the application will be refused. Individuals often don't realize that even an non-accompanying family member who is not applying for Permanent Residence (such as a spouse), can prevent the entire family (other spouse and children) from obtaining PR if they have a Medical or Criminal issue.

Genuineness of relationship: subsection 12(1) and subsection 4(1)

When individuals submit their own Spousal Sponsorship application, they often a receive Procedural Fairness Letters questioning the genuineness of their relationship or IRCC is not convinced that requirements are met for sponsorship. Examples include: Not living together in Canada for Inland Sponsorship, marriage is not legally recognized, not enough evidence to establish common-law relationship, dependent children not recognized as such. In all of these situations, IRCC is not satisfied enough to approve the application for some of the following reasons:

  • ​​​Inconsistent information on the required forms and supporting documents

  • Insufficient supporting documents to serve as evidence

  • Previous applications submitted by either sponsor or applicant to IRCC have inconsistent information from that on the Spousal application​​

  • Often a spousal applies for PR on their own previously, and do not declare they are married. Or a previously submitted TRV / Study Permit / Work Permit does not declare a spouse, when they were in fact married

  • Current marriage is not recognized, as divorce of previous marriage was not finalized before new marriage. Spouse would therefore not be considered part of the Family class, and thus not eligible to be sponsored, unless they have been living together for 1 year continuously and can be considered common-law.


Express Entry: wrong NOC, employment letter (job duties), insufficient evidence

There are many reasons IRCC can issue a PFL for an Express Entry application. Most issues pertain to not providing enough evidence for work experience (using the wrong NOC, employment letter not listing duties). Other reasons can include Medical reasons, Criminality, Misrepresentation, or issues with dependents on the application (proving the relationship of spouse or children).

Security Reasons / Terrorism: subsection 34(1)

Individuals who served in government, military, or a position close to the government, often require to provide IRCC additional information to prevent themselves from becoming inadmissible for Security Reasons. Similarly, individuals were a member of an organization in their youth that IRCC deems to have ties to terrorism. It is extremely important to have this clarified to IRCC with a proper submission.

Get Professional Help

If you received a Procedural Fairness Letter, it is highly recommended to retain professional help from a law firm. This is the only opportunity to respond, before a refusal. A detailed response with accompanying documents need to be provided as IRCC has an issue with your application. Far too many individuals contact our firm after it is too late. Be pro-active, contact us if you receive a PFL letter. We can help.

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