Canadian nationality law is promulgated by the Citizenship Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-29) since 1977. The Act determines who is, or is eligible to be, a citizen of Canada. The Act replaced the previous Canadian Citizenship Act (S.C. 1946, c. 15; cited after 1970 as R.S.C. 1970, c. C-19) in 1977 and has gone through four significant amendments, in 2007, 2009, 2015 and 2017.
Canadian citizenship is typically obtained by birth in Canada on the principle of jus soli, or birth abroad when at least one parent is a Canadian citizen or by adoption by at least one Canadian citizen under the rules of jus sanguinis. It can also be granted to a permanent resident who has lived in Canada for a period of time through naturalization. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly known as Citizenship and Immigration Canada, or CIC) is the department of the federal government responsible for citizenship-related matters, including confirmation, grant, renunciation and revocation of citizenship.
On 19 June 2017, the Act has been amended for a fourth time by the 42nd Canadian Parliament. A set of changes has taken effect throughout 2017 and 2018 as a result, mostly with regard to naturalization requirements and citizenship deprivation procedures.
|Parliament of Canada|
|An Act respecting citizenship|
|Citation||R.S.C., 1985, c. C-29|
|Enacted by||30th Canadian Parliament|
|Canadian Citizenship Act (R.S.C. 1970, c. C-19)|
|Status: Current legislation|
After Canadian Confederation was achieved in 1867, the new Dominion's "nationality law" initially closely mirrored that of the United Kingdom and all Canadians were classified as British subjects. Section 91(25) of the British North America Act, 1867, passed by the British Parliament in London (now referred to as the Constitution Act, 1867), however, gave the Parliament of Canada authority over "Naturalization and Aliens". The Immigration Act, 1910, for example, created the status of "Canadian citizen". This distinguished those British subjects who were born, naturalized, or domiciled in Canada from those who were not, but was only applied for the purpose of determining whether someone was free of immigration controls. The Naturalization Act, 1914, increased the period of residence required to qualify for naturalization in Canada as a British subject from three years to five years. A separate additional status of "Canadian national" was created under the Canadian Nationals Act, 1921, with the immediate purpose of securing Canadian participation in the newly created Court of International Justice, but with the broader aim "to define a particular class of British subjects who, in addition to having all the rights and all the obligations of British subjects, have particular rights because of the fact that they are Canadians". Its purpose was "to recognize who is a Canadian and who is not".
Canadian independence from Britain was obtained incrementally between 1867 (confederation and Dominion status within the Empire) and 1982 (patriation of the Canadian constitution). In 1931, the Statute of Westminster provided that the United Kingdom would have no legislative authority over Dominions without the request and consent of that Dominion's government to have a British law become part of the law of the Dominion. The law also left the British North America Acts within the purview of the British parliament, because the federal government and the provinces could not agree on an amending formula for the Canadian constitution. (Similarly, the neighbouring Dominion of Newfoundland did not become independent because it never ratified the Statute.) When, in 1982, the British and Canadian parliaments produced the mutual Canada Act 1982 (UK) and Constitution Act 1982 (Canada), which included a constitutional amendment process, the UK ceased to have any legislative authority whatsoever over Canada.
By the 1930s and the outbreak of World War II, Canada's naturalization laws consisted of a hodgepodge of confusing acts, which still retained the term "British subject" as the nationality and citizenship of "Canadian nationals". This eventually conflicted with the nationalism that arose following the First and Second World Wars, and the accompanying desire to have the Dominion of Canada's sovereign status reflected in distinct national symbols (such as flags, anthem, seal, etc.). This, plus the muddled nature of existing nationality law, prompted the enactment of the Canadian Citizenship Act, 1946, which took effect on 1 January 1947. On that date, Canadian citizenship was conferred on British subjects who were born, naturalized or domiciled in Canada. Subsequently, on 1 April 1949, the Act was extended to Newfoundland, upon the former British Dominion joining the Canadian confederation as the province of Newfoundland.
The 1947 Act was substantially revised again on 15 February 1977, when the new Citizenship Act came into force. From that date, multiple citizenship became legal. However, those who had lost Canadian citizenship before that date did not automatically have it restored until 17 April 2009, when Bill C-37 became law. The 2009 act also limited the issuance of citizenship to children born outside Canada to Canadian ancestors (jus sanguinis) to one generation abroad. Bill C-24 in 2015 further granted Canadian citizenship to British subjects with ties to Canada but who did not qualify for Canadian citizenship in 1947 (either because they had lost British subject status prior to 1947, or did not qualify for Canadian citizenship in 1947 and had not yet applied for naturalization).
There are four ways an individual can acquire Canadian citizenship: by birth on Canadian soil; by descent (being born to a Canadian parent); by grant (naturalization); and by adoption. Among them, only citizenship by birth is granted automatically with limited exceptions, while citizenship by descent or adoption is acquired automatically if the specified conditions have been met. Citizenship by grant, on the other hand, must be approved by the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.
In general, persons born in Canada on or after 1 January 1947 (or 1 April 1949 if born in Newfoundland and Labrador) automatically acquire Canadian citizenship at birth unless they fall into one of the exceptions listed below. Those born in Canada before 1947 automatically acquired Canadian citizenship either on 1 January 1947 (or 1 April 1949 for Newfoundland and Labrador residents) if they were British subjects on that day, or on 11 June 2015 if they had involuntarily lost their British subject status before that day.
Despite being indigenous peoples in Canada, many First Nations peoples (legally known as Status Indians) and Inuit born before 1947 did not acquire Canadian citizenship until 1956, when only those who met the conditions were retroactively granted Canadian citizenship.
Under paragraph 3(1)(a) of the 1977 Act, any person who was born in Canada on or after 15 February 1977 acquires Canadian citizenship at birth. The Interpretation Act states that the term "Canada" not only includes Canadian soil, but also "the internal waters" and "the territorial sea" of Canada, with the term "internal waters" being defined as including "the airspace above". Hence, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada considers all children who were born over Canadian airspace as Canadian citizens. In one 2008 case, a girl born to a Ugandan mother aboard a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Boston was deemed a Canadian citizen because she was born over Canadian airspace.
In addition, the interpretation section of the Citizenship Act states that any person who was born on an aircraft registered in Canada, or a vessel registered in Canada, is considered to be born in Canada.
There are only three exceptions to this rule, which are listed below.
Subsection 3(2) of the Act states that Canadian citizenship by birth in Canada is not granted to a child born in Canada if neither parent is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, and either parent was recognized by Global Affairs Canada as employed by the following at the time of the child's birth:
In the Vavilov decision, the Federal Court of Appeal clarified that to qualify for one of the exceptions, the parent's status as an employee of a foreign government must be recognized first by Global Affairs Canada. The exceptions do not apply if the said parent is employed by a foreign state but never had that status recognized by the federal government.
In a high-profile 2015 case, Deepan Budlakoti, a stateless man born in Ottawa, Ontario, was declared not to be a Canadian citizen because his parents were employed as domestic staffs by the High Commissioner of India in Canada and their contracts, which came with recognized diplomatic statuses, legally ended two months after his birth, despite the fact that they started to work for a non-diplomat well before their contracts ended and before Budlakoti was born.
Under section 4 and 5 the 1947 Act, all persons who were born on Canadian soil or a ship registered in Canada on or after 1 January 1947 acquired Canadian citizenship at birth, while those who were born before 1 January 1947 on Canadian soil or Canadian ships acquired Canadian citizenship on 1 January 1947 if they had not yet lost their British subject status on that day. This Act was amended to include Newfoundland in 1949.
Before 1950, a loophole existed in a way that section 5 of the 1947 Act did not mention any exceptions to this rule for persons born after 1947, making persons born to diplomats between this period also Canadian citizens by birth. This loophole was closed in 1950 when the first amendments to the 1947 Act went into effect, which specified that the jus soli rule does not apply to children with a "responsible parent" (father if born in wedlock; mother if born out of wedlock or has custody of the child) who was not a permanent resident and who also was:
Hence, between 1950 and 1977, it was possible for children born to foreign diplomat fathers and Canadian mothers not to be Canadian citizens.
Although the 1947 Act declared that British subjects who were born in Canada prior to 1947 acquired Canadian citizenship on 1 January 1947, First Nations and Inuit were left out of the 1947 Act because those who were born before 1 January 1947 were not British subjects. It was not until 1956 when the legal loophole was closed by amending the 1947 Act to include Status Indians under the Indian Act and Inuit who were born prior to 1947. To be eligible for Canadian citizenship, they must have had Canadian domicile on 1 January 1947 and must have had resided in Canada for over ten years on 1 January 1956. Those qualified were deemed to be Canadian citizens from 1 January 1947. In comparison, those born on or after 1 January 1947 acquired Canadian citizenship at birth on the same basis as any other person born in Canada.
In 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney proposed to modify the jus soli birthright citizenship recognized in Canadian law as a means of discouraging birth tourism. The move had drawn criticism from experts who said that the proposal was based on overhyped popular beliefs and nonexistent data. As of 2016, however, Minister John McCallum said during an interview that there is no plan to end birthright citizenship.
The 2015 amendment (Bill C-24) of the 1977 Act, which went into effect on 11 June 2015, granted Canadian citizenship for the first time to people who were born in Canada before 1 January 1947 (or 1 April 1949 if born in Newfoundland and Labrador), ceased to be British subjects before that day, and never became Canadian citizens after 1947 (or 1949). Under the 1947 Act, these people were never considered to be Canadian citizens because they had lost their British subject status before the creation of Canadian citizenship. Persons who had voluntarily renounced British subject status or had their British subject status revoked are not included in the grant.
Whether a person is a Canadian citizen by descent depends on the legislation at the time of birth. Generally speaking, any person who was born to a parent born or naturalized in Canada who has not actively renounced their Canadian citizenship is a Canadian citizen by descent (known as first generations born abroad), regardless of the time of birth. These persons either automatically acquired Canadian citizenship at birth, or on 17 April 2009 or 11 June 2015. A small number of persons who voluntarily obtained Canadian citizenship through special grant programs before 2004 were either retroactively granted citizenship since birth or gained citizenship on the day their application was approved.
Cases for children of first generations born abroad (known as second and subsequent generations born abroad) are more complicated. For such persons, only those who were born on or before 16 April 2009 may be Canadian citizens.
Under Bill C-37 which went into force on 17 April 2009, every person born outside of Canada as the first generation born abroad (i.e., born to a Canadian parent who derives their citizenship from birth or naturalization in Canada) on or after 17 April 2009 is automatically a Canadian citizen by descent at birth.
The Bill also automatically granted Canadian citizenship, for the first time, to children of former Canadian citizens whose citizenship was restored on that day (which was every person who involuntarily lost Canadian citizenship under the 1947 Act). On 11 June 2015, Bill C-24 further extended the automatic grant to children of British subjects who were born or naturalized in Canada but never acquired Canadian citizenship. The acquisition of citizenship under both bills is not retroactive to birth.
Children born abroad on or after 17 April 2009 to Canadian citizens by descent, and children born abroad to Canadian citizens by descent who acquired their citizenship en masse on 17 April 2009 or 11 June 2015 are subject to the first generation rule and hence are not Canadian citizens. They must go through the naturalization or adoption process to become Canadian citizens.
The exceptions to the first-generation rule are:
An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (S.C. 2008, c. 14) (previously Bill C-37) came into effect on 17 April 2009 and changed the rules for Canadian citizenship. Individuals born outside of Canada are Canadian citizens by descent only if one of their parents is a citizen of Canada either by having been born in Canada or by naturalization. The new law limits citizenship by descent to one generation born outside Canada.
In a scenario, the new rules would apply like this: A child is born in Brazil in 2005 (before the new rules came into effect) to a Canadian citizen father, who himself is a born abroad citizen by descent, and a Brazilian mother who is only a Permanent Resident of Canada. The child automatically becomes a Canadian citizen at birth. Another child born after 17 April 2009 in the same scenario would not be considered a Canadian citizen. The child is considered born past "first generation limitation" and the parents would have to sponsor the child to become a Permanent Resident. Once permanent residency is granted, a parent can apply for Canadian citizenship on behalf of the child under subsection 5(2) without the residency requirement.
Children born on or after 17 April 2009 as second and subsequent generations born abroad have no claim to Canadian citizenship other than naturalization or adoption. Before Bill C-6's passage on 19 June 2017, such children might be stateless if without claim to any other citizenship. In one case, a toddler who was born in Beijing out of wedlock to a Chinese mother and a Canadian father who acquired his citizenship by descent was left de facto stateless for 14 months until she was registered for Irish citizenship because of her Irish-born grandfather. Since 19 June 2017, parents of otherwise stateless children can apply for naturalization on the sole ground of being stateless without fulfilling any of the requirements for citizenship.
Between 15 February 1977 and 16 April 2009, a child born abroad to a Canadian citizen would acquire Canadian citizenship automatically at birth, regardless of whether the parent was a Canadian citizen by descent. During this period, the parent must have retained their Canadian citizenship at the time of their birth for them to be eligible for Canadian citizenship. Hence, those with a parent who involuntarily lost their citizenship under the 1947 Act (e.g., by naturalizing in another country) were not considered as Canadian citizens.
However, a Canadian citizen who was born outside Canada after the first generation between 15 February 1977 and 16 April 1981 was required to apply for the retention of Canadian citizenship before their 28th birthday. Otherwise, their Canadian citizenship would be automatically lost.
Between 1947 and 1977, a person born to a Canadian citizen parent would only acquire Canadian citizenship if his or her birth was registered at a Canadian embassy, consulate or high commission. Canadian citizenship between this period could only be passed down by Canadian fathers when born in wedlock, or Canadian mothers when born out of wedlock. Although the 1947 Act had mandated that a child must be registered within two years from the date of the child's birth, the 1977 Act abolished the mandatory period so that eligible persons and their children born before 1977 could be registered at any age after 15 February 1977 up until 14 August 2004. This provision, known as delayed registration, was retroactive to birth, so children born to these citizens would automatically acquire Canadian citizenship by descent if born between the period of 15 February 1977 to 16 April 2009 and would have to apply for retention if falling under the retention rules (i.e., born between 1977 and 1981).
Although married women were unable to pass down citizenship to their children under the 1947 Act, a provision in the 1977 Act (paragraph 5(2)(b)), before it was repealed on 17 April 2009, also allowed children born to Canadian mothers in wedlock before 1977 to apply for Canadian citizenship through a special grant before 14 August 2004. Unlike that of the delayed registration provision, the grant of citizenship under this provision was not retroactive to birth, and hence children born to such parents would not be Canadian citizens by descent if they were born before their parents' citizenship was granted, because the parents were not yet Canadian citizens at the time of their birth. This special grant was also available for non-Canadian children born to Canadian fathers out of wedlock between the period of 17 May and 14 August 2004 after a court ruling. Those who were born after the parent's citizenship was granted also had to apply for retention if falling under the retention rules.
Those who failed to register or apply for a grant before 14 August 2004 would see their citizenship granted on 17 April 2009 if they were the first generation born abroad. Unlike those registered for or granted citizenship before the 2004 deadline, however, their children will not be able to acquire Canadian citizenship by descent, regardless of the time of birth.
A person may apply for Canadian citizenship by naturalization under section 5 of the Act if the outlined conditions are met. In certain cases, some or all of the requirements may be waived by the Minister.
Under subsection 5(1), a person of any age may apply for Canadian citizenship if he or she:
In addition, any applicant between the age of 18 and 54 must:
Subsection 5(1) does not apply to minors with a Canadian citizen parent or guardian, who must follow subsection 5(2) which has fewer requirements.
Prior to 2015's Bill C-24, the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, the requirement for time spent in Canada was 1095 days over four years including at least two as a permanent resident (time spent in Canada as a temporary resident could count as one year of residence at most). The language and knowledge requirement applied only to persons aged 18 to 54. Between 17 June 2015 and 11 October 2017, the physical residence period was prolonged to four out of six years, and applicants must spend more than 183 days in Canada each year for at least four years before the day they submit their application. Their time spent in Canada as a temporary resident or a protected person also did not count toward the residence period.
Applications submitted before 11 October 2017 were subject to the longer physical residence requirement. However, knowledge and language requirements no longer apply to persons who were under 18 or over 54 at the time they signed their application, even when their applications were submitted before that date.
The age requirement and the requirement to declare the applicant's intention to reside in Canada or continue the service with the CAF has been repealed when Bill C-6 became law on 19 June 2017. Before this date, only those over 18 can apply for naturalization under subsection 5(1). Furthermore, the residence period was changed to three out of five years on 11 October 2017, and applicants are no longer required to reside in Canada for 183 days per year. Once again, time spent as a temporary resident or a protected person is allowed to count toward the period of permanent residence, and the language and knowledge tests no longer apply to persons under 18 or over 54.
All applicants are required to maintain the requirements for citizenship from the day they submit the applications to the day they take the oath.
Since 19 June 2017, a minor under 18 can apply for citizenship individually under subsection 5(1) if they meet all requirements. In other circumstances, however, the minor child's parent or guardian can apply for Canadian citizenship on their behalf under subsection 5(2). Citizenship will be granted under subsection 5(2) if:
The parent who applies on the child's behalf does not have to be the one with Canadian citizenship. For example, a permanent resident child's non-citizen father can apply for citizenship on their behalf if the mother of the child is a Canadian citizen.
The period of residence requirement does not apply to those applying under subsection 5(2). Minors under 14 years old also do not need to take the oath of citizenship or attend a citizenship ceremony.
Applicants who submitted their applications before 11 October 2017 are no longer required to meet language and knowledge requirements as they no longer apply to any person under 18 years of age.
When Bill C-37 became law in 2009, a new provision, subsection 5(5), was also added to provide a path to citizenship for stateless children born to Canadian parents who acquired citizenship by descent. To qualify, the applicants must:
Unlike subsections 5(1) and 5(2), subsection 5(5) does not require the applicant to hold permanent resident status to apply (as long as the residence requirement has been met). Additionally, they do not need to attend a ceremony or take the Oath of Citizenship. Other conditions, such as the income tax filing, also do not apply to them.
After 19 June 2017, it is possible for such children to apply for a discretionary grant under subsection 5(4) on the sole ground of being stateless and bypass all requirements, although subsection 5(5) is left intact as a part of the Act.
Under subsection 5(3), the Minister may waive the following requirements on compassionate or humanitarian grounds:
The Minister may further waive the oath requirement for persons with disabilities.
Moreover, under subsection 5(4), the Minister may grant citizenship to individuals who:
Such persons do not need to fulfill any of the requirements.
Since 1977, naturalization under subsection 5(4) has been used for over 500 times, and in many cases they were used to naturalize professional athletes so they can represent Canada at world events. Several notable athletes naturalized under this clause include Eugene Wang, Kaitlin Weaver and Piper Gilles.
All applicants for naturalization aged 14 or over (except for those naturalizing under subsection 5(5) or those with the requirement waived by the minister) must attend a citizenship ceremony as the final stage of their application. After taken the Oath of Citizenship, they will be given a paper citizenship certificate as the legal proof of Canadian citizenship. Before February 2012, applicants would receive a wallet-sized citizenship card and a paper commemorative certificate, but only the citizenship card served as the conclusive proof of Canadian citizenship.
Prior to 2007, there was no provision in the Act for adopted persons to become Canadian citizens without going through the process of immigration and naturalization. In May 2006 the federal government introduced draft legislation, Bill C-14: An Act to Amend the Citizenship Act (Adoption), which was designed to allow adopted children the right to apply for citizenship immediately after the adoption without having to become a permanent resident. This bill received Royal Assent on 22 June 2007.
After the passage of the bill, a person who is adopted by a Canadian citizen is entitled to become a Canadian citizen under section 5.1 of the Citizenship Act if
In addition, for adoptees over 18 years old, evidence must be submitted to show that the adoptive parents and the adoptee have a "genuine relationship between parent and child" before the adoptee turned 18.
For Quebec adopters, the adoption must also be approved by the Government of Quebec.
Unlike the execution of citizenship by descent provisions which automatically grants citizenship to first-generation born abroad, the exercise of adoption provisions is voluntary, and adoptees may become Canadian citizens either by immediately applying for Canadian citizenship under section 5.1 or through naturalization under section 5 after the adoptees become permanent residents.
However, those adopted by one or both parents who derived their citizenship by descent or under the adoption provisions are not eligible for citizenship under section 5.1 and must apply for naturalization under section 5, unless the parent concerned, at the time of adoption,
Furthermore, those who acquired citizenship under section 5.1 cannot pass down citizenship to their future offspring born outside Canada through jus sanguinis, while an adoptee who acquired citizenship through naturalization may pass down citizenship to future children born abroad.
Although not included in section 5.1, persons who were adopted before 1 January 1947 were also granted Canadian citizenship on 11 June 2015 if their adoptive parents can pass down citizenship by descent and they had never received Canadian citizenship.
In a 2013 case, the Federal Court ruled that a person applying under section 5.1 has an entitlement to Canadian citizenship if all criteria have been met, even when they are otherwise ineligible for citizenship under naturalization rules (e.g., criminal offences or outstanding deportation orders).
There is no longer a requirement to file for retention of Canadian citizenship before a person's 28th birthday after the repeal of section 8 of the Act on 17 April 2009.
Prior to Bill C-37 entered into force, all Canadians who acquired their Canadian citizenship by descent through a Canadian parent who also acquired Canadian citizenship by descent (known as the second and subsequent generations born abroad) would automatically lose their Canadian citizenship on their 28th birthday under section 8 of the 1977 Act, unless they applied for retention of citizenship.
Retention of citizenship would only be approved for applicants who had satisfied one of the following conditions:
Applications would be considered by a citizenship judge and, if rejected, could be filed again after the applicant had met the requirements. Successful applicants would be issued a citizenship card and a certificate of retention, and both serve as the legal proof of citizenship.
This provision was formally repealed on 17 April 2009 when Bill C-37 came into effect, and those who attained 28 years of age on or after the date no longer has a requirement to retain citizenship. Thus, only those who were born between the period of 15 February 1977 (the day that the 1977 Act went into effect) and 16 April 1981 were required to retain citizenship and, if had not taken steps to do so, would lose their Canadian citizenship between 15 February 2005 and 16 April 2009. However, a child born to such parent would still be a Canadian citizen and no longer had to apply for retention, if he or she was born after 16 April 1981 but before 17 April 2009 and the parent had not formally lost Canadian citizenship at the time of the child's birth. The parent, nevertheless, would face the loss of citizenship if he or she had not successfully filed for retention.
The retention clause of the Act had negatively affected a number of people, many of whom were residing in Canada at the time when their citizenship was stripped. On 4 December 2016, the Vancouver Sun reported that some individuals who were subject to the automatic loss of citizenship had only discovered that they were no longer Canadian citizens while dealing with the federal government. These people would become de jure stateless if also holding no other nationalities or citizenship, and would also have no legal immigration status in Canada after the loss of citizenship. Accordingly, they must take steps to restore their Canadian citizenship under section 11 of the Act. It is worth noting that neither Bill C-37 nor Bill C-24 restored these persons' citizenship, and those affected must take voluntary action or may face legal consequences as illegal immigrants with respect to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
Under section 6 the original 1947 Act in force until 1970, Canadian citizens by descent were required to renounce all foreign citizenship and make a declaration of retention after they attained 21 years of age. Failing to do so before their 22nd birthday would cause the loss of Canadian citizenship on that day.
This requirement was relaxed in 1970. Subsection 5(2) of the 1947 Act, as amended in 1970, specified that Canadian citizens by descent would not lose their Canadian citizenship until their 24th birthday, as opposed to their 22nd birthday under the original clause. Retention of citizenship would be granted to any person who had Canadian domicile on their 21st birthday or those who had submitted a declaration of retention of Canadian citizenship before their 24th birthday. The requirement for them to renounce their foreign citizenship under the original 1947 Act was also repealed.
Unlike that of the 1977 Act which required the affected persons to make an application with the possibility of being refused, the 1947 Act's retention clauses merely required those affected to make a declaration. The clauses also did not make a distinction between the first-generation born abroad to Canada-born or naturalized parents, and second and subsequent generations born abroad. However, under Bill C-37, only those who were the first generation born abroad were able to have their Canadian citizenship restored, while second and subsequent generations born abroad remain foreign if they had failed to retain their Canadian citizenship under the 1947 Act.
The complete replacement of the 1947 Act in 1977 meant that only those who were born on or before 14 February 1953 were subject to the 1947 Act's retention rules. Those born between 15 February 1953 and 14 February 1977 were able to retain their Canadian citizenship without taking any actions.
Since Bill C-37 came into force in 2009, there is no provision for involuntary loss of Canadian citizenship, except when in certain circumstances the Minister may initiate court proceedings to revoke a person's citizenship.
Between 1947 and 1977, a number of Canadian citizens had involuntarily lost their citizenship under the 1947 Act, mostly by acquiring the nationality or citizenship of another country. These persons' citizenship have been restored en masse on 17 April 2009.
Under the 1977 Act, there were no automatic losses of Canadian citizenship until the period between 2005 and 2009 when some Canadians lost their citizenship due to their failure to file for retention of citizenship.
While there now are no grounds for involuntary loss of citizenship, voluntary loss of citizenship, or renunciation, is permitted.
The term "Lost Canadians" are used to refer to persons who believed themselves to be Canadian citizens but have lost or never acquired Canadian citizenship due to the legal hurdles in the 1947 Act.
Under the 1947 Act, a person must be a British subject on 1 January 1947 for them to acquire Canadian citizenship. Hence certain persons who were born, naturalized or domiciled in Canada before the enactment of the 1947 Act were ineligible for Canadian citizenship, which included the following groups:
The loss of British subject status or Canadian citizenship could occur even when the person was physically in Canada.
Certain Canadian residents born before 1977, including but not limiting to war brides and persons who were born outside Canada to Canadian citizens (primarily those who were born to Canadian servicemen or in U.S. hospitals along the Canada–United States border who automatically acquired U.S. citizenship at birth), also do not possess Canadian citizenship, because it was not possible to automatically acquire Canadian citizenship without voluntarily applying for naturalization (for war brides) or registering at a Canadian mission (for children of Canadians). Some of those people have been living in Canada for their entire lives with little knowledge of their lack of Canadian citizenship. To solve this problem, the federal government had undertaken several legislative processes to reduce and eliminate these cases.
The problem first arose in February 2007, when the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration held hearings on so-called Lost Canadians, who found out on applying for passports that, for various reasons, they may not be Canadian citizens as they thought. Don Chapman, a witness before the committee, estimated that 700,000 Canadians had either lost their citizenship or were at risk of having it stripped. However, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Diane Finley said her office had just 881 calls on the subject. On 19 February 2007, she granted citizenship to 33 such individuals. Some of the people affected reside in towns near the border, and hence were born in American hospitals. Others, particularly Mennonites, were born to Canadian parents outside Canada. An investigation by the CBC, based on Canadian census data, concluded that the problem could affect an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 individuals residing in Canada at the time.
On 29 May 2007, Canadian Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Diane Finley announced her proposal to amend the 1977 Act for the first time. Under the proposal, which eventually became Bill C-37, anyone naturalized in Canada since 1947 would have citizenship even if they lost it under the 1947 Act. Also, anyone born since 1947 outside the country to a Canadian mother or father, in or out of wedlock, would have citizenship if they are the first generation born abroad. Appearing before the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, Finley asserted that as of 24 May 2007, there were only 285 cases of individuals in Canada whose citizenship status needs to be resolved. As persons born prior to 1947 were not covered by Bill C-37, they would have to apply for special naturalization before Bill C-24's passage in 2015.
Under Bill C-37 and Bill C-24 which went into effect on 17 April 2009 and 11 June 2015, respectively, Canadian citizenship was restored or granted for those who have involuntarily lost their Canadian citizenship under the 1947 Act or British subject status before 1947, as well as their children.
The aftermath of the 1947 Act continues to affect people today. In July 2017, Larissa Waters, an Australian Senator born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, was disqualified on the ground that she has dual Canadian and Australian citizenship. Section 44 of the Australian Constitution was frequently interpreted by Australian courts as a ban on the ability to run for political office by persons with multiple citizenship. Waters, who was born to Australian parents a week before the 1977 Act went into effect, claimed that she was unaware of the changes in Canadian legislation and was also misinformed by her parents, who told her that she would cease to be a Canadian when she turns 21. However, her claim runs afoul with nationality laws of both countries.
Under section 10 the Act, the Minister has the power to initiate proceedings to revoke a person's Canadian citizenship or renunciation of citizenship.
Under subsection 10(1) of the Act, the Minister may initiate proceedings to revoke a person's citizenship or nullify the person's renunciation of citizenship if they are satisfied that the person has obtained, retained, renounced or resumed citizenship by:
Revocation of citizenship under subsection 10(1) applies typically to naturalized Canadians. However, it may also be applied to those who had retained their citizenship. Persons whose citizenship was revoked may become stateless if they do not have citizenship or nationality of another country at the time of the final decision.
Since 11 January 2018, all revocation cases must be decided by the Federal Court unless the person in question explicitly requests the Minister to make the final decision. Otherwise, the Minister no longer has the authority to unilaterally revoke a person's citizenship without going through court proceedings. However, from December 2018, citizenship officers were given "clear authority" to seize and detain any document that was deemed fraudulent, without the need of involvement of other law enforcement agencies. Such documents will then be used as evidence against the person in proceedings.
After revocation, a person's status in Canada may be a Canadian citizen (for those who renounced their citizenship with fraud), a permanent resident (for those who restored or acquired citizenship with fraud), or a foreign national with no status in Canada (for other revocations). Those who become foreign nationals will be subject to deportation, while those with permanent resident status may be issued deportation orders by federal courts on the grounds of security, human rights violations, or organized crime.
Before 2015, revocation only applied to naturalized citizens, and the Governor in Council must be notified about the revocation without exception.
Between 2015 and 2017, the revocation of citizenship became streamlined. More powers were vested in the Department and the Minister, who could unilaterally revoke a person's citizenship without involving the Governor in Council. After the change of procedure, the number of revocation nearly tenfolded when comparing to 2014.
Before 19 June 2017, subsection 10(2), as amended in 2014 by Bill C-24, added provisions when the Minister could revoke a person's citizenship, including but not limited to:
Revocations under subsection 10(2) only applied to those with citizenship or nationality in another country.
The subsection has been formally repealed on that day when Bill C-6 received Royal Assent. Zakaria Amara, a dual Jordanian-Canadian citizen whose Canadian citizenship was revoked in 2015 because of his involvement in the 2006 Ontario terrorism plot, has had his citizenship reinstated when Bill C-6 became law. Amara remains the only person whose citizenship was revoked under subsection 10(2) before it was repealed.
Between 10 July 2017 and 10 January 2018, all revocation clauses in the Act were deemed inoperable until the amendments of the Act took effect on 11 January 2018. This was because that in May 2017, the Federal Court ruled in Hassouna v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) that subsections 10(1), 10(3) and 10(4) violated the Canadian Bill of Rights in a way that they deprived a person's right to a fair hearing. After the suspension of the ruling had lapsed on 10 July 2017, no subsection under section 10 was enforceable until the 2017 amendments to the Act came into effect. On the same day, a federal judge had nullified the citizenship revocation of 312 people.
The last part of Bill C-6, which is scheduled to take effect in 2018, includes the following changes:
A Canadian citizen who wishes to voluntarily renounce his or her citizenship for any reason must make an application directly to the federal government, and he or she ceases to be a Canadian citizen only after the federal government has approved such request. Renouncing Canadian citizenship to a foreign government (such as by taking the Oath of Allegiance to the United States) is not sufficient in itself to be considered as a voluntary renunciation of Canadian citizenship.
In general, there are two forms of renunciations: subsection 9(1) of the Act, for all renunciations, and section 7.1 of the Citizenship Regulations, for persons who acquired citizenship in 2009 and 2015 due to the changes of law.
All renunciations are subject to approval by the Governor in Council, who has the power to refuse an application on national security grounds.
Under subsection 9(1), a person renouncing citizenship must:
The person may be required to attend an interview.
In some cases, the Minister may waive the residence and implication understanding requirements. However, a person may not renounce his or her citizenship when the revocation of citizenship is in action.
Section 7.1 of the Regulations provides a simpler way for those whose citizenship was restored in 2009 and 2015 to renounce their citizenship. To qualify, the applicant must have acquired or reacquired his or her citizenship under the 2009 and 2015 amendments, and:
The implication understanding requirement can also be waived by the Minister.
Persons renouncing under section 7.1 do not need to attend an interview, and there is no fee for renunciation.
Under subsection 11(1) of the Act, a former Canadian citizen who voluntarily renounced his or her citizenship under Canadian law is generally required to satisfy a number of conditions before he or she can resume Canadian citizenship. The conditions are:
The income taxes and residence intention requirements were added on 11 June 2015 when Bill C-24 became law. The residence intention requirement, however, was repealed on 19 June 2017 when Bill C-6 received Royal Assent.
Former citizens who lost their citizenship by revocation are not eligible to resume their citizenship. They must follow naturalization procedures if not permanently prohibited from doing so.
On 17 April 2009, Bill C-37 resumed Canadian citizenship to all of those who have obtained Canadian citizenship on or after 1 January 1947 by birth or naturalization in Canada but have involuntarily lost it under the 1947 Act, and their first generation descendants born abroad were also granted Canadian citizenship on that day.
On 11 June 2015, Bill C-24 further granted citizenship for the first time to those who were born or naturalized in Canada but had lost British subject status before 1947 and their first generation descendants born abroad.
On 22 September 1988, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney agreed to a redress package for Japanese-Canadians deported from Canada between 1941 and 1946 (about 4,000 in total) and their descendants. The package authorized a special grant of Canadian citizenship for any such person. All descendants of deported persons were also eligible for the grant of citizenship provided that they were living on 22 September 1988, regardless of whether the person deported from Canada was still alive.
Although Bill C-24 covered the majority of ex-British subjects who would have acquired citizenship in 1947, a certain number of female ex-British subjects were excluded from the Bill, mainly those born in another part of the British Empire other than Canada, had been residing in Canada long enough to qualify for citizenship under the 1947 Act, but had lost their British subject status either by marrying a foreign man before 1947, or losing British subject status when her spouse naturalized in another country. These people can acquire Canadian citizenship under subsection 11(2) of the 1977 Act by a simple declaration made to the IRCC. There are no additional requirements other than the declaration.
The attitude toward multiple citizenship in Canada has changed significantly over time. Between 1 January 1947 and 14 February 1977, multiple citizenship was only allowed under limited circumstances. On 15 February 1977, the restrictions on multiple citizenship ended.
The number of Canadians with multiple citizenship is difficult to determine because of the changes in Canadian and foreign laws. In 2006, around 863,000 Canadian citizens residing in Canada reported in census to hold at least one more citizenship or nationality of another country. The actual figure, however, is substantially higher, as the federal government does not maintain statistics on persons with multiple citizenship who reside abroad. The en masse citizenship grant and restoration in 2009 and 2015 further increased the number of Canadians with multiple citizenship, as Canadian citizenship was restored or granted to most of the people who lost their Canadian citizenship or British subject status by acquiring citizenship of another country. These people, as well as their descendants, are de jure Canadians with multiple citizenship even when they do not exercise citizenship rights (e.g., travelling on a Canadian passport).
Although not a legal requirement, Canadian citizens with multiple citizenship are required to carry a Canadian passport when boarding their flights to Canada since November 2016 unless they are dual Canadian-American citizens carrying a valid United States passport. This is caused by the amended visa policy, which imposed a pre-screening requirement on visa-exempt nationalities. Those entering Canada by land or sea are not subject to this restriction.
The 1977 Act removed all restrictions on multiple citizenship and Canadian citizens acquiring another citizenship on or after 15 February 1977 would no longer lose their Canadian citizenship.
Those who lost their Canadian citizenship or British subject status under the 1947 Act or the British 1914 Act regained or gained Canadian citizenship in 2009 and 2015, respectively. The grant and resumption under Bill C-37 and Bill C-24 included these people's children.
Although multiple citizenship was severely restricted under the 1947 Act, it was still possible to be a citizen of Canada and another country so long as the acquisition of the other citizenship or nationality is involuntary. A person may involuntarily acquire citizenship of another country when:
Like peoples of all other British colonies and Dominions at the time, those born in Canada before 1947 were British subjects by nationality under the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act 1914. The term "Canadian citizen", however, was first created under the Immigration Act 1910 to identify a British subject who was born in Canada or who possessed Canadian domicile, which could be acquired by any British subject who had lawfully resided in Canada for at least three years. At that time, "Canadian citizenship" was solely an immigration term and not a nationality term, hence "Canadian citizens" under the Immigration Act would be subject to the same rules on acquisition and loss of British subject status under the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act 1914. Under the Immigration Act 1910, "Canadian citizenship" would be lost for any person who had ceased to be a British subject, as well as non-Canadian born or naturalized British subjects who "voluntarily [reside] outside Canada". While the former would lose "Canadian citizenship" and British subject status simultaneously, the latter would only stop being a "Canadian citizen". Canadian-born or naturalized British subjects would not lose their Canadian domicile by residing outside Canada.
The only circumstance in which a British subject could acquire de jure dual citizenship was by birth to a British subject father in a country which offered birthright citizenship (e.g., the United States). However, "Canadian citizens" may acquire de facto dual citizenship by residing in another British Dominion, protectorate, or colony, as they would simultaneously have "Canadian citizenship" and, if residing long enough to meet the requirements, the domicile of that Dominion, protectorate, or colony.
To further separate British subjects domiciled in Canada from other British subjects, the term "Canadian National" was created by the Canadian Nationals Act 1921 on 3 May of that year. The status was bestowed on all holders of "Canadian citizenship" and their wives, but also included all children born outside Canada to Canadian National fathers, regardless of whether possessing British subject status at the time of birth. This 1921 Act also provided a path for certain Canadian Nationals who were born outside Canada, or who were born in Canada but had the domicile of the United Kingdom or another Dominion at birth or as a minor, to relinquish their Canadian Nationality and domicile. Before the passage of the 1921 Act, "Canadian citizens" who were born in Canada had no course to abandon their Canadian domicile without having to relinquish their British subject status altogether. As Canadian Nationality was also independent of their British subject status, the renunciation under the 1921 Act would not affect their British subject status, although they would also not become Canadian citizens on 1 January 1947 when it was first created.
Though she resides predominantly in the United Kingdom and it is uncertain whether a monarch is subject to his or her own citizenship laws, the Queen of Canada is considered Canadian. She and those others in the Royal Family who do not meet the requirements of Canadian citizenship (there are five Canadian citizens within the Royal Family) are not classified by either the government or some constitutional experts as foreigners to Canada;[n 1] in the Canadian context, members of the Royal Family are subjects specifically of the monarch of Canada. Members of the Royal Family have also, on occasion, declared themselves to be Canadian and called Canada "home".[n 2]
There have been a number of court decisions dealing with the subject of Canadian citizenship. In particular, the interpretation of the 3-year (1,095-day) residence requirement enacted by the 1977 Citizenship Act, which does not define the term "residence" and, further, prohibits an appeal of a Federal Court decision in a citizenship matter to the Federal Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court, has "led to a great deal of mischief and agony" and generated considerable judicial controversy.
Over the years two principal schools of thought with respect to residence have emerged from the Federal Court.
Early on, in 1978, Associate Chief Justice Arthur L. Thurlow in Papadogiorgakis (Re),  2 F.C. 208, opined that residency entails more than a mere counting of days. He held that residency is a matter of the degree to which a person, in mind or fact, settles into or maintains or centralizes his or her ordinary mode of living, including social relations, interests and conveniences. The question becomes whether an applicant's linkages suggest that Canada is his or her home, regardless of any absences from the country.
In Re Koo, Justice Barbara Reed further elaborated that in residency cases the question before the Court is whether Canada is the country in which an applicant has centralized his or her mode of existence. Resolving such a question involves consideration of several factors:
- Was the individual physically present in Canada for a long period prior to recent absences which occurred immediately before the application for citizenship?
- Where are the applicant's immediate family and dependents (and extended family) resident?
- Does the pattern of physical presence in Canada indicate a returning home or merely visiting the country?
- What is the extent of the physical absences – if an applicant is only a few days short of the 1095-day total it is easier to find deemed residence than if those absences are extensive?
- Is the physical absence caused by a clearly temporary situation such as employment as a missionary abroad, following a course of study abroad as a student, accepting temporary employment abroad, accompanying a spouse who has accepted temporary employment abroad?
- What is the quality of the connection with Canada: is it more substantial than that which exists with any other country?
The general principle is that the quality of residence in Canada must be more substantial than elsewhere.
In contrast, a line of jurisprudence flowing from the decision in Re Pourghasemi (1993), 62 F.T.R. 122, 19 Imm. L.R. (2d) 259, emphasized how important it is for a potential new citizen to be immersed in Canadian society and that a person cannot reside in a place where the person is not physically present. Thus, it is necessary for a potential citizen to establish that he or she has been physically present in Canada for the requisite period of time.
In the words of Justice Francis Muldoon:
It is clear that the purpose of paragraph 5(1)(c) is to ensure that everyone who is granted precious Canadian citizenship has become, or at least has been compulsorily presented with the everyday opportunity to become "Canadianized." This happens by "rubbing elbows" with Canadians in shopping malls, corner stores, libraries, concert halls, auto repair shops, pubs, cabarets, elevators, churches, synagogues, mosques and temples – in a word wherever one can meet and converse with Canadians – during the prescribed three years. One can observe Canadian society for all its virtues, decadence, values, dangers and freedoms, just as it is. That is little enough time in which to become Canadianized. If a citizenship candidate misses that qualifying experience, then Canadian citizenship can be conferred, in effect, on a person who is still a foreigner in experience, social adaptation, and often in thought and outlook... So those who would throw in their lot with Canadians by becoming citizens must first throw in their lot with Canadians by residing among Canadians, in Canada, during three of the preceding four years, in order to Canadianize themselves. It is not something one can do while abroad, for Canadian life and society exist only in Canada and nowhere else.
The co-existence of such disparate, yet equally valid approaches has led some judges to comment that the citizenship "law is in a sorry state", that "there cannot be two correct interpretations of a statute", that "it does not engender confidence in the system for conferring citizenship if an applicant is, in the course of a single application, subjected to different legal tests because of the differing legal views of the Citizenship Court", that there's a "scandalous incertitude in the law", and that "there is no doubt that a review of the citizenship decisions of this Court, on that issue, demonstrates that the process of gaining citizenship in such circumstances is akin to a lottery".
In 2010 it seemed that a relative judicial consensus with respect to decision-making in residence cases might emerge. In several Federal Court decisions it was held that the citizenship judge must apply a hybrid two-test approach by firstly ascertaining whether, on the balance of probabilities, the applicant has accumulated 1,095 days of physical presence. If so, the residency requirement is considered to have been met. If not, then the judge must additionally assess the application under the "centralized mode of existence" approach, guided by the non-exhaustive factors set out in Koo (Re).
However, most recently, this compromise formula was rejected by Federal Court judges, who continued to plead for legislative intervention as the means to settle the residency requirement debacle.
A few of the other major decisions are:
|Glynos v. Canada,  3 FC 691 (FCA)||The Federal Court of Appeal ruled that the child of a Canadian mother had the right to be granted Canadian citizenship, despite the fact that the responsible parent of the child (i.e. the father) had naturalized as a U.S. citizen before 15 February 1977 and had thus lost his Canadian citizenship.|
|Benner v. Canada (Secretary of State) 1997 CanLII 376,  1 SCR 358 (27 February 1997), Supreme Court (Canada)||The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that children born abroad before 15 February 1977 of Canadian mothers were to be treated the same as those of Canadian fathers (i.e., granted citizenship upon application without the requirements of a security check or taking a citizenship oath).|
|Canada (Attorney General) v. McKenna 1998 CanLII 9098,  1 FC 401 (19 October 1998), Federal Court of Appeal (Canada)||The Federal Court of Appeal ruled that the Minister had to establish a bona fide justification pursuant to section 15(g) of the Canadian Human Rights Act for the discriminatory practice in the Act on adoptive parentage, where children born abroad to Canadian citizens obtain "automatic" citizenship while children adopted outside Canada must gain admission to Canada as permanent residents, as mandated by paragraph 5(2)(a ) of the Citizenship Act, which incorporates by reference the requirements imposed by the Immigration Act pertaining to permanent resident status. However, this case also declared that the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal had overreached itself in declaring that the granting of citizenship was a service customarily available to the general public, and had breached the rules of natural justice by failing to notify the Minister that the provisions of the Citizenship Act were being questioned. After the amendment in 2007, most adopted persons now automatically acquire citizenship after the finalization of adoption even when the adoption took place prior to the amendment, and this ruling is no longer relevant.|
|Taylor v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) 2007 FCA 349 (2 November 2007), Federal Court of Appeal (Canada)||The Federal Court of Canada had ruled in September 2006 that an individual born abroad and out of wedlock to a Canadian serviceman father and a non-Canadian mother acquired citizenship upon arrival in Canada after World War II and did not subsequently lose Canadian citizenship while living abroad. This was reversed by the Federal Court of Appeal in November 2007, which held that Taylor had lost his Canadian citizenship under section 20 of the 1947 Act (absence from Canada for ten consecutive years), and therefore the court could not grant his request. However, he was now able to request a grant of citizenship under section 5(4) of the current Act (special cases), and citizenship was subsequently granted in December 2007.|
|Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) v. Dufour 2014 FCA 81 (1 April 2014), Federal Court of Appeal (Canada)||The Federal Court of Appeal ruled that the citizenship officer cannot unreasonably deny a person's citizenship application made under paragraph 5.1(3) if the Quebec government had fully validated the person's adoption, and in order to render a Quebec adoption as an adoption of convenience, the officer must prove, with tangible evidence, that the Quebec legal system was defrauded by the citizenship applicant. The respondent, a Haitian citizen who was adopted by a Quebec man, was deemed as an adoptee by convenience and was denied citizenship under paragraph 5.1(3)(b) when a citizenship officer found that his adoption was not approved by the appropriate department within the Haitian government and he arrived in Canada on a visitor's visa instead of a permanent resident visa, even when the person's adoption was later approved by a Quebec court. The Court of Appeal believed that the officer had failed to validate the genuineness of his adoption by failing to contact with the relevant authorities in Quebec. Hence, there was no evidence to prove that the adoption was indeed an adoption of convenience.|
|Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) v. Kandola 2014 FCA 85 (31 March 2014), Federal Court of Appeal (Canada)||The Federal Court of Appeal clarified that for a child to be considered a Canadian citizen by descent, a genetic link must be proven to the Canadian parent through a DNA test. In this case, a person who was born to a Canadian citizen father outside Canada with assisted human reproduction (AHR) technology but with no genetic links to the father was declared not to be a Canadian citizen by descent.|
|Hassouna v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) 2017 FC 473 (10 May 2017), Federal Court (Canada)||The Federal Court of Canada ruled in a judicial review that subsections 10(1), 10(3) and 10(4) of the Act, all regarding revocation of citizenship, violated subsection 2(e) of the Canadian Bill of Rights in a way that they "[deprived] a person of the right to a fair hearing in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice for the determination of his rights and obligations", due to the fact that those who had their citizenship revoked under these subsections did not have a right to present their cases to the court. All eight applicants' revocation notices were quashed, and the three subsections of the Act are deemed inoperable as of 10 July 2017 after the suspension of the ruling has expired until their formal repeal on 11 January 2018, when revocation is now a matter of the Federal Court and the Minister can no longer make unilateral decisions.|
|Vavilov v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) 2017 FCA 132 (21 June 2017), Federal Court of Appeal (Canada)||The Federal Court of Appeal ruled that children born in Canada to a parent who is employed by a foreign government, but is not recognized by Global Affairs Canada as an employee of a foreign government, are Canadian citizens by birth and are not subject to the exceptions under subsection 3(2), because only employees of foreign governments with "diplomatic privileges and immunities certified by the Minister of Foreign Affairs" are exempted from the jus soli rule. The appellant, a man who was born in Canada to Russian sleeper agents, was previously declared not to be a Canadian citizen by the Federal Court of Canada because his parents, who were arrested in 2010 during a crackdown of Russian agents in the U.S., were employees of a foreign government at the time of his birth. Moreover, none of his parents were ever Canadian citizens as they only assumed the identities of two deceased Canadians.
On 10 May 2018, the federal government's leave to appeal was granted by the Supreme Court of Canada which will examine whether the man and his elder brother, who won a similar case in April that year, would fall under subsection 3(2) of the Act.
|Halepota v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) 2018 FC 1196 (28 November 2018), Federal Court (Canada)||The Federal Court of Canada ruled that exceptional services to the United Nations (UN) and its agencies is considered as "service of exceptional value to Canada" due to Canada's UN membership and hence the applicant may be considered for naturalization under subsection 5(4). In this case, a senior-level IRCC decision maker determined that the appellant, a permanent resident and a senior director of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), was ineligible for naturalization under subsection 5(4) because she has made no notable contribution to Canada "for the purposes of granting Canadian citizenship" due to the fact that her majority of work with the UNHCR was done outside Canada, even though her work was "commendable" and "aligns with Canada’s humanitarian assistance mandate". The judge ruled that due to Canada's commitment to the mandate and goals of the UN, exceptional services to the UN must be considered as exceptional service to Canada for citizenship applications. As a result, the court has quashed the decision maker's decision and the application is sent to another decision-maker for consideration with respective to the ruling.|
Comparing to permanent residents, Canadian citizens have additional rights, including but not limited to:
In addition, only Canadian citizens may petition to receive a grant of armorial bearings.
Canadian citizens, however, have the responsibility to complete jury duty when called to do so, and failure to respond or appear may come with legal consequences. Permanent residents, on the other hand, are legally ineligible to serve as jurors and hence are not required to do so.
Among these documents, only the certificate of citizenship is still being issued by the federal government. The certificate is automatically issued to an individual who has become a Canadian citizen through naturalization, but can also be issued to any Canadian upon request. If requested, a certificate is only issued after a complete investigation on whether the individual possesses Canadian citizenship under the current or historical legislation. The certificate replaced the wallet-sized citizenship card on 1 February 2012 and can be verified electronically, but unlike the citizenship card, it can no longer be used as an identification document as it does not contain a photo. The citizenship card was originally issued between 1954 and 1977 as a supplement of the larger certificate before the 1977 Act. Between 1977 and 2012, it was the only valid proof of Canadian citizenship for those who acquired citizenship through naturalization or by descent.
As those who were born in Canada normally acquired citizenship at birth under both 1947 and 1977 Acts, birth certificates issued by the provincial or territorial government are usually considered by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada as adequate proof of citizenship. There are, however, complications when the person failed to acquire Canadian citizenship because of the exceptions listed under subsection 3(2) of the Act. As the federal government does not keep records of the immigration statuses of parents at birth, a person may be recognized as a Canadian-based solely on his or her birth within Canada when, in fact, he or she does not possess Canadian citizenship under subsection 3(2). Deepan Budlakoti, a stateless man born in Ontario, was twice issued a valid Canadian passport based on his Ontario birth certificate before the federal government realized that he is not a Canadian citizen under subsection 3(2) and revoked his Canadian passport.
Documents other than those listed above, including Canadian passports, are not considered as proof of citizenship, but a passport is issued only after review of other documentary proof, as noted above. Church-issued baptismal certificates and birth certificates issued by an authority other than a provincial or territorial government are also not proof of Canadian citizenship. Such certificates were common in Quebec, as the provincial government did not start to issue birth certificates until 1994.
A special birth certificate issued by the Department of National Defence to children of CAF members born abroad before 1979, known as DND 419, is not a proof of citizenship due to the lack of legal status of the certificate. This has caused difficulties for some individuals as they were forced to apply for a certificate of citizenship to confirm their status and to apply for a passport.
Visa requirements for Canadian citizens are administrative entry restrictions by the authorities of other states placed on citizens of Canada. According to the 2016 Visa Restrictions Index, holders of a Canadian passport can visit 172 countries and territories visa-free or with visa on arrival, and the score of Canada is currently ranked 6th in terms of travel freedom.
Although section 32 and 33 the 1977 Act recognizes citizens of other Commonwealth countries as Commonwealth citizens, no special privileges over other foreign nationals are accorded on them. Hence, a Commonwealth citizen without permanent resident status or Canadian citizenship is treated like any other foreign national in Canada.
Other Commonwealth countries recognize Canadian citizens as Commonwealth citizens, though the significance of this designation varies from one member state to another. For example, Canadians may be entitled to certain rights or privileges offered by the United Kingdom under British law, including:
All Canadian citizens […] may petition to receive a grant of armorial bearings.
The Canadian Citizenship Act (French: Loi sur la citoyenneté canadienne), S.C. 1946, c. 15, is an Act of the Parliament of Canada which separated Canadian citizenship from British nationality.Canadian Citizenship Test
The Canadian Citizenship Test is a test, administered by the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, that is required for all applicants for Canadian citizenship who are aged between 18 and 54 and who meet the basic requirements for citizenship. The test is available in both French and English, the official languages of Canada. The test is usually written, but in some cases it might be oral and take place in the form of an interview with a citizenship officer. The Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship decides if the applicant's test is written or oral, depending on their various criteria.Canadian cultural protectionism
Cultural protectionism in Canada has, since the mid-20th century, taken the form of conscious, interventionist attempts on the part of various Governments of Canada to promote Canadian cultural production and limit the effect of foreign culture on the domestic audience. Sharing a large border and a common language with the United States, Canadian politicians have perceived the need to preserve and support a culture separate from US-based North American culture in the globalized media arena. Canada's efforts to maintain its cultural differences from the US and Mexico have been balanced by countermeasures in trade arrangements, including the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).Canadian immigration and refugee law
Canadian immigration and refugee law concerns the area of law related to the admission of foreign nationals into Canada, their rights and responsibilities once admitted, and the conditions of their removal. The primary law on these matters is in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, whose goals include economic growth, family reunification, and compliance with humanitarian treaties.Canadian passport
The Canadian passport (French: Passeport canadien) is the passport issued to citizens of Canada. It enables the bearer to exit and re-enter Canada freely; travel to and from other countries in accordance with visa requirements; facilitates the process of securing assistance from Canadian consular officials abroad, if necessary; and requests protection for the bearer while abroad.All Canadian passports are issued by the Passport Program of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Prior to 1 July 2013, Canadian passports were issued by Passport Canada, an independent operating agency of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. They are normally valid for five or ten years for persons 16 years of age and older, and five years for children under 16. In 2017, 60 per cent of Canadians had passports, with there being about 22 million passports in circulation. Although held by individuals, all Canadian passports remain property of the Government of Canada and must be returned to the Passport Program upon request.Canada is a member of the Five Nations Passport Group, an international forum for cooperation between the passport issuing authorities in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States to "share best practices and discuss innovations related to the development of passport policies, products and practices".Canada began issuing biometric passports, also known as electronic passports or e-passports, to Canadian citizens on 1 July 2013.Canadians of convenience
The term "Canadians of convenience" was popularized by Canadian politician Garth Turner in 2006 in conjunction with the evacuation of Canadian citizens from Lebanon during the 2006 Israel–Lebanon conflict. It refers to people with multiple citizenship who immigrated to Canada, met the residency requirement to obtain citizenship, obtained Canadian citizenship, and moved back to their original home country while maintaining their Canadian citizenship, with those who support the term claiming they do so as a safety net.
Statistics and analyses are unavailable on the distinction between evacuees who were long-term residents of Lebanon and those who were not and on how many of the long-term residents had returned to Lebanon immediately after acquiring their Canadian citizenship.Cultural mosaic
"Cultural mosaic" (French: "la mosaïque culturelle") is the mix of ethnic groups, languages, and cultures that coexist within society. The idea of a cultural mosaic is intended to suggest a form of multiculturalism, different from other systems such as the melting pot, which is often used to describe nations like the United States' assimilation.History of Canadian nationality law
Canada established its own nationality law in 1946 with the enactment of the Canadian Citizenship Act 1946, which took effect on 1 January 1947. It was the second nation in the British Commonwealth to establish its own nationality law; the first was the Irish Free State, which was a Commonwealth member until 1949 and established its own nationality law in 1935.
Under current Canadian law, Canada does not restrict multiple citizenship.History of immigration to Canada
The history of immigration to Canada extends back thousands of years. Anthropologists continue to argue over various possible Models of migration to the New World to modern-day Canada, as well as their pre-contact populations. The Inuit are believed to have arrived entirely separately from other indigenous peoples around 1200 CE. Indigenous peoples contributed significantly to the culture and economy of the early European colonies and as such have played an important role in fostering a unique Canadian cultural identity.
Statistics Canada has tabulated the effect of immigration on population growth in Canada from 1851 to 2001. On average, censuses are taken every 10 years, which is how Canadian censuses were first incremented between 1871 and 1901. Beginning in 1901, the Dominion Government changed its policy so that census-taking occurred every 5 years subsequently. This was to document the effects of the advertising campaign initiated by Clifford Sifton.
In 2006, Canada received 236,756 immigrants. The top ten sending countries, by state of origin, were People's Republic of China (28,896); India (28,520); Philippines (19,718); Pakistan (9,808); United States (8,750); United Kingdom (7,324); Iran (7,195); South Korea (5,909); Colombia 5,382; and Sri Lanka (4,068). The top ten source countries were followed closely by France (4,026), and Morocco (4,025), with Romania, Russia, and Algeria each contributing over 3,500 immigrants.Honorary Canadian citizenship
Honorary Canadian citizenship (French: citoyenneté canadienne honoraire) is an honour bestowed on foreigners of exceptional merit following a joint resolution by both Houses of the Parliament of Canada.
Honorary Canadian citizenship is purely symbolic; the recipient does not receive any of the rights, privileges, or duties typically held by a Canadian citizen.Immigration law
Immigration law refers to the national statutes, regulations, and legal precedents governing immigration into and deportation from a country. Strictly speaking, it is distinct from other matters such as naturalization and citizenship, although they are often conflated. Immigration laws vary around the world, as well as according to the social and political climate of the times, as acceptance of immigrants sways from the widely inclusive to the deeply nationalist and isolationist. Countries frequently maintain laws which regulate both the rights of entry and exit as well as internal rights, such as the duration of stay, freedom of movement, and the right to participate in commerce or government.
National laws regarding the immigration of citizens of that country are regulated by international law. The United Nations' International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights mandates that all countries allow entry to their own citizens.Lost Canadians
Lost Canadians are individuals who have believed themselves to be Canadian citizens or to be entitled to citizenship, but who are not/were not officially considered citizens due to particular and often obscure aspects or interpretations of Canadian nationality law.National question (Quebec)
The National Question (in French: la Question nationale) is an expression referring to the discussion about the future status of Quebec within Canada, taking into consideration issues of autonomy, sovereignty, and independence.Oath of Citizenship (Canada)
The Oath of Citizenship, or Citizenship Oath (in French: serment de citoyenneté), is a statement recited and signed by those who apply to become citizens of Canada. Administered at a ceremony presided over by a designated official, the oath is a promise or declaration of fealty to the Canadian monarch and a promise to abide by Canada's laws and uphold the duties of a Canadian citizen; upon signing the oath, citizenship is granted to the applicant.The vow's roots lie in the oath of allegiance taken in the United Kingdom, the modern form of which was implemented in 1689 by King William II and III and Queen Mary II and was inherited by and used in Canada prior to 1947. With the enactment of the Citizenship Act that year, the Canadian Oath of Citizenship was established. Proposals for modification of the oath have surfaced from time to time, including removing references to the sovereign, adding loyalty to societal principles, and/or adding specific mention to Canada. However, it is maintained within Canada's legal system "that the oath to the Queen is in fact an oath to a domestic institution that represents egalitarian governance and the rule of law". Consequently, it has only been modified once, in 1977.Passport Canada
Passport Canada was an independent operating agency of the Government of Canada with bureaucratic oversight provided through Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. It operated under the auspices of the Canadian Passport Order which defines the agency. Prior to June 2006, it was formerly known as the Passport Office.Passport Canada was responsible for issuing, revoking, withholding, and recovering Canadian passports, and it was the sole issuer of them (except for emergency and temporary passports that may be issued by a Canadian mission abroad). It operated under the auspices of the Canadian Passport Order which defined the agency.
Due to the agency's status as a Special Operating Agency, Passport Canada was financed through the fees collected for issuing passports and other travel documents. It did not receive direct funding from the federal government.
Passport Canada became defunct on 1 July 2013, after the amended Canadian Passport Order came into effect. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada replaced Passport Canada as the passport issuing authority on that date.Permanent residency in Canada
Permanent residency in Canada is a status granting someone who is not a Canadian citizen the right to live and work in Canada without any time limit on their stay. To become a permanent resident a foreign national must apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), formerly known as Citizenship and Immigration Canada, under one of several programs.Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples
The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) was a Canadian Royal Commission established in 1991 to address many issues of Aboriginal status that had come to light with recent events such as the Oka Crisis and the Meech Lake Accord. The commission culminated in a final report of 4,000 pages, published in 1996. The original report "set out a 20-year agenda for implementing changes."Two Solitudes (Canadian society)
"Two Solitudes" refers to a perceived lack of communication, and moreover a lack of will to communicate, between Anglophone and Francophone people in Canada. The term was popularized by Hugh MacLennan's novel Two Solitudes. In her investiture speech as Governor-General of Canada, Michaëlle Jean specifically stated that "the time of 'two solitudes' had finished".
1 British Overseas Territories.
2 Open border with Schengen Area.
3 Russia is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. The vast majority of its population (80%) lives in European Russia, therefore Russia as a whole is included as a European country here.
9 Partially recognized.