What is a Procedural Fairness Letter (PFL)?

Procedural Fairness Letters (PFL) are usually issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), when the decision-maker processing the application is not satisfied with the information provided in the application. This could be due to many reasons. It could be because of incomplete documents, incorrect documents, forged documents and the list can go on.

Before making a final decision the decision-maker is required to follow rules set out by IRCC, to be provided with a fair and unbiased assessment of their application. The decision-maker is also obliged to inform the applicant of the actual concern, with regard to the application. And finally, provide an opportunity to provide a response and reasonable explanation to address the concern(s) raised by the decision-maker. The requirement for procedural fairness applies to all types of immigration and citizenship applications and all aspects of decision-making.

Fairness letters are considered to be pretty serious in nature, getting one should be dealt with with absolute care and seriousness. It should receive the attention it deserves. Usually, the letter would outline each concern and give a chance to put forth the applicant’s response to the concerns within a stipulated time. If you get a procedural fairness letter, consider it your last chance for a successful application before a rejection.

Procedural Fairness Letters (PFLs) can be issued for various reasons depending on application types, some of the common ones are below:

  • Misrepresentation of information in an area of the application.
  • Incorrect proof of funds
  • Incorrect or incomplete proof of employment
  • Failure to submit documents on time
  • Failure to prove marriage
  • Failure to prove the common-law relationship
  • Failure to prove the parent-child relationship
  • The list can go on

What to do NEXT?

If you have received a procedural fairness letter, the first thing you must do is seek legal advice. Provide your Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) or lawyer with a copy of the letter and all relevant communication, past and current with IRCC. You must seek legal advice as soon as possible and not wait till the period is over. Usually, fairness letters are to be responded to within a fixed time frame, of 30 days or 60 days, which may not be enough. Each specific case is different, the sooner you start the better your chances of success.

How to avoid a procedural fairness letter?

Always deal with a professional to help you with the application. A Certified Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) or lawyer is a professional who is better equipped to deal with the complexities of the application. These professionals are licensed and governed by regulatory bodies. They are also bound to give you correct legal advice in compliance with the code of professional ethics and various other regulations. The chances of success are higher if you deal with a licensed professional.

When in doubt always seek advice.