Citizenship and Immigration Canada allows permanent residents to apply for Canadian Citizenship after they have been a physical resident of Canada for three years (1095 days) out of the four years immediately preceding their citizenship application. In some instances, actual physical residency may not be required, and time spent in Canada as a student or worker may also count towards the residency requirement.
Many permanent residents do not apply for Canadian citizenship. However, the disadvantages of remaining in Canada as a permanent resident instead of a Canadian citizen continue to increase, and go beyond simply being unable to vote and obtain certain government jobs.
First, Canadian citizens do not have to comply with the residency obligation that permanent residents do. They can travel, study, and work abroad without having to fear losing their status.
Second, a Canadian citizen will not lose his/her status as a citizen because of a criminal conviction in Canada or abroad. As the Government of Canada continues to increase the number of crimes in Canada and increase the potential sentences of existing crimes, while at the same time continues to lower the threshold for what convictions can result in automatic removal of a permanent resident from Canada, the advantage of citizenship over permanent residency only continues to increase.
The Citizenship section of the CIC website can be found at: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/citizenship/index.asp
The Citizenship manuals are here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/manuals/cp/index.asp
Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about obtaining Canadian citizenship.