In May, both the Senate and the Federal Court of Canada found that citizenship revocation without an opportunity to respond was wrong
The FCC’s decision in Hassouna et al v Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada established that in the context of citizenship revocation, an affected individual must be given an opportunity to have special circumstances considered before a final decision is made. Furthermore, procedural fairness may demand the right to an oral hearing if credibility is an issue.
Similarly, the Senate strongly recommended that the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration be required to inform those whose citizenship was revoked that they have the right to appeal this decision in the Federal Court. The intent was to create an additional safeguard to the 30-day response time to the Minister individuals already enjoyed.
On June 15, the Liberal Government agreed
Bill C-6, which repealed the Conservative’s changes to the Citizenship Act made in 2014, also introduced procedural safeguards for those facing citizenship revocation missing from previous Citizenship Acts.
Originally denied the ability to formally appeal this decision because it ‘encouraged people to lie due to the lengthy appeal times’ (at least according to one Conservative MP), the new law now statutorily protects individuals’ rights to appeal such decisions to the Federal Court if they are unreasonable. This change provides additional protection to individuals whose citizenship has been revoked for “frauds” such as (but not limited to) forgetting to list minor convictions (which would otherwise not make an individual inadmissible anyways) or to update application if a child is born into the immediate family. It represents another step to ensuring that Canadian citizenship is accessible and enduring.
Bill C-6 received Royal Assent on June 19. Other changes introduced include:
- Dual citizens can no longer be stripped of Canadian citizenship if convicted of terrorism, treason, or espionage
- Changes In Eligibility:
- Individuals between 18-54 years of age must pass language and knowledge tests (previously this was required by anyone 14-64 years of age)
- Up to 265 days of temporary status (such as work or study) are now counted towards the residency requirement
- New Canadians no longer required to say they intend to reside in Canada as part of the application
- Permits minors to apply for Citizenship without their parent’s consent or support