Contact Your Citizenship Lawyer About the Recent Changes to The Canada Citizenship Act
In 2014, the previous Conservative government passed Bill C-24, a controversial Canadian citizenship law that created many barriers for applicants. Among other problems, this citizenship law had lengthy residency requirements and unfair citizenship revocation rules that violated Canadian Charter rights. Now, thankfully, the Canadian government’s view on citizenship is to treat all Canadian citizens equally, whether they were born in Canada or not.
The government recently passed Bill C-6, a new citizenship law that made amendments to the Canada Citizenship Act. This bill repeals certain changes made by the former Conservative government in 2014. Some of the most important changes involve children’s rights, citizenship revocation, physical presence, and language requirements. For more information on the changes to the Canada Citizenship Act and help with the application process, contact a citizenship lawyer.
With this new law, the federal government no longer has the power to automatically revoke citizenship from dual citizens accused of a national security offence. Also, the government can no longer revoke the citizenship of individuals accused of giving fraudulent information on their citizenship application without a hearing. The federal government cited concerns that such authority violated the Canadian Bill of Rights.
The Canadian government recently published these new regulations to ratify the changes to the Canada Citizenship Act. Some of the new changes to the Citizenship Act with Bill C-6 amendments, and the timeframe for introducing these changes, are as follows:
In Effect as of June 19, 2017
- The Canadian government can no longer revoke Canadian citizenship from dual citizens convicted of treason, spying, terrorism charges (depending on the sentence received), or who took part in an armed force or organized group in a country engaged in conflict with Canada. Now, those convicted and living in Canada will face the Canadian justice system, like any other Canadian citizen.
- Citizenship applicants no longer need to intend to remain in Canada upon receiving citizenship. This flexibility to work and live elsewhere is now a freedom for all Canadian citizens, whether they are born in Canada or not.
Pending Changes for Fall 2017
- Citizenship applicants must be physically present in Canada for three out of five years before applying—changed from the previous four out of six years.
- If required to do so, applicants must also file Canadian income taxes for three out of five years before applying.
- Each day an applicant was physically present in Canada before becoming a permanent resident (either as a temporary resident or protected person) can now be counted as a half-day toward meeting the physical presence requirement, up to 365 days. Prior to this change, applicants could not count any time spent in Canada before they become a permanent resident.
- Applicants between 18 and 54 years—previously 14 and 64 years—must meet the knowledge and language requirements for citizenship.
Changes in Early 2018
- The Federal Court is the decision-maker in all citizenship revocation cases—unless the citizen asks for the Minister to make the decision.
- Citizenship Officers will have the authority to seize fraudulent or suspected fraudulent documents.
These new changes will make it easier for applicants to get a chance at gaining Canadian citizenship. And in the eyes of the citizenship law, the government must treat all Canadians equally. It is no longer acceptable to see so many as second-class citizens. For more information and help with the application process, contact a citizenship lawyer.