Federal Court

Selection and Admission

No basis for amateur diagnosis as officer had no expertise in field of psychiatry

Foreign national, aged 26, was citizen of China who came to Canada on student visa in 2005 after her mother died. Foreign national suffered from mental illness, which according to psychiatrist could be controlled, but not cured. Between December 2008 and September 2010, foreign national was admitted to psychiatric wards on five occasions. Foreign national subsequently enrolled in college and was residing at home of senior official in psychiatric department of major Toronto hospital. In denying humanitarian and compassionate claim, officer found that foreign national’s psychotic depression/lapse was result of separation anxiety as consequence of travelling alone to new country and that it was reasonable that her psychosis would diminish when she was back in her native culture and language and among family and friends. Officer also found that China had sufficient medical resources reasonably available to foreign national to treat her mental illness. Foreign national applied for judicial review. Application granted. Immigration Officer made fatal error in coming to his own conclusions on source of foreign national’s psychiatric problems. It was determination made in absence of any evidence to support finding that source of psychiatric problems was culture shock of coming to Canada. There was no basis for amateur diagnosis as officer had no expertise in this field, and there was no medical evidence to support this diagnosis. Culture shock had exacerbated foreign national’s medical problems, but was not found to be root cause. Officer’s conclusion that return to China would be tantamount to cure was unsupported and bizarre. In considering evidence of mental health treatment in China, officer focused exclusively on services in Shanghai and Beijing and failed to link those few facilities identified with foreign national’s ability to access them from her home city.

Li v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) (Jun. 6, 2014, F.C., Michael L. Phelan J., File No. IMM-4109-13) 241 A.C.W.S. (3d) 430.

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