Especially if you are a couple separated by a border (as my love and I are). But even more so if you happen to be unlucky enough to have your spouse or partner in a country like China or from the continent of Africa.
According to an article in today's Star - "The refusal rate for Hong Kong – which also serves Guangdong, Fujian and Hainan in southern China – was 48 per cent last year, the figures reveal. From the Accra office, which serves the West African countries of Gambia, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia, the rate was 46 per cent."
The article sites unnamed Canadian officials who claim the reasons for this disparity is that they suspect fraud in the relationships, but of course, the simplest thing for a low level official (or in some cases, contractor) to do is to say "no", forcing the applicant to make the expensive choice to appeal - a choice that adds an additional year or YEARS to the process depending on where you are applying from. Now add to that the condition that out-of-country applicants are not allowed to visit Canada while their request is under consideration (for fear that they will remain regardless of the outcome of their case).
The online responses to this article are unfortunately full of the vehemence typical of a number of right-wing Canadians, though a voice of reason put the situation most succinctly: