Between 1977 and 2010 only 63 people had their citizenship revoked. In July, 2011, Jason Kenney, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (“Minister Kenney“), announced that as many as 1,800 Canadians could be stripped of their citizenship because they obtained their citizenship fraudulently. The 1,800 individuals were identified following a three-year investigation by the RCMP, other police forces and Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
On September 9, 2012, Minister Kenney announced that the number of people who would likely have their citizenship revoked had risen to 3,100, with an additional 11,000 people under investigation. An Access to Information Act request revealed that most of the Canadian citizens who were the subject of investigations were originally from the following countries.
By the end of 2012, the process of revoking these peoples’ citizenship has already begun, with several Canadians receiving letters stating the following:
The potential citizenship revocation of 11,000 Canadians generated considerable media and political attention, including this Twitter exchange between Jason Kenney and Jinny Sims, the New Democratic Party Immigration Critic.
While what Minister Kenney said was at the time true, one of the consequences of Bill C-24, the Strengthening of Canadian Citizenship Act, is that there are no longer the same procedural safeguards for those who face citizenship revocation proceedings for misrepresentation.
Section 10 of the Citizenship Act – Then and Now
The authority of the Government of Canada to strip people of their citizenship is legally provided for by s. 10 of the Citizenship Act, which previously stated that:
Order in cases of fraud
10.Read more ›
New Language Requirements for Citizenship and PNP Applications
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) has introduced new language requirements for citizenship applications and certain provincial nominee applications. For citizenship applications, the changes will introduce objective language requirements for most applicantions. For certain provincial nominee program (“PNP”) applications, the changes will introduce mandatory language testing.
The Citizenship Langugage Requirements
Applicants for Canadian citizenship are required to demonstrate that they have an adequate knowledge of either English or French. Currently, this is done through a multiple choice written test known as the Citizenship Exam, which also tests knowledge of Canada and the responsibilities of citizenship.
On April 21, 2012, the Government of Canada introduced regulatory changes that when they take affect will require that citizenship applicants enclose proof that they meet the language requirement with their citizenship application. Acceptable means of proof will include:
- A language test result from an authorized testing agency;
- Evidence of completion of secondary or post-secondary education in English or French; or
- Evidence of completion and achievement of a certain level in a government-funded language training program.
Applicants submitting test results from an authorized testing agency will have to achieve a minimum standard of Canadian Language Benchmark (“CLB”) 4 in English or Niveaux de comeptence linguistique canadiens (“NCLC”) level 4 in French. The areas that will be tested are speaking and listening. For those familiar with the International English Language Testing System (“IELTS”), currently required for many permanent residence applications, this translates into a 4 in each category.
Applicants who provided mandatory language testing results as part of their permanence residence applications can submit those test results with their citizenship application, and will not be required to be re-tested.
The change will affect all adult citizenship applicants between the ages of 18 and 54.Read more ›
The above picture of Wilfred Laurier, a former Prime Minister of Canada and member of the Liberal Party of Canada, is currently making the rounds on the internet accompanied by his famous passage:
In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes a Canadian and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet a Canadian, and nothing but a Canadian… There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is a Canadian, but something else also, isn’t a Canadian at all. We have room for but one flag, the Canadian flag… And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the Canadian people.
People that are spreading this and citing this passage about undivided loyalty with fervour are I’m sure thinking of immigrants from certain countries with value systems very different to ours. However, I wonder if they have actually considered the policy implication of the above passage – which is obviously whether Canada should ban its citizens from being dual (or triple) citizens?
What do you think? Should Brett Hull, Kaya Jones, John Aimers, Peter Jennings, Megan Follows, Brian Burke, Jim Carrey, etc. have to choose?
And, if you believe in what Mr. Laurier said, do we not have room in Canada for the above individuals?
As was recently pointed out to me, in attributing the above quote and picture to Wilfred Laurier I fell for a popular myth circulating in certain circles.Read more ›
Citizenship and Immigration Canada has released Operational Bulletin 359 – Requirements for candidates to be seen taking the Oath of Citizenship at a ceremony and procedures for candidates with full or partial face coverings.
The OB has received much media publicity. Pursuant to it, all citizenship candidates will be informed that they will be required to remove their face coverings for the oath taking portion of the citizenship ceremony, and that their failure to do so will result in the candidate not becoming a Canadian citizen on that day.
If a candidate is not seen taking the oath by a presiding official, the clerk of the ceremony must be notified immediately following the oath taking portion. The person will not become a citizen that day. A minor child whose parents do are not seen taking the oath will also not become a citizen that day.
A person who is not seen taking the oath will have a second chance to attend a future citizenship ceremony and take the oath. If they do not, then their application for citizenship will be refused. The opportunity to return to take the oath at another citizenship ceremony applies only once.
As the following tweet by Jason Kenney indicates, this policy is meant to prohibit veils, hajibs, niqabs, etc. from being worn during the oath:
kenneyjason Jason Kenney
Thanks to MP Wladyslaw Lizon for raising w/ me the aberrant practice of veiled people taking oath.He saw 4 people doing so @ recent ceremony
However, the way this OB is worded, I shudder to think of what will happen if a CIC officer has to rub some dust out of his eyes during the Citizenship Oath.Read more ›
As much as we know that the people who write our laws are perfect, they can sometimes write things that seem contradictory.
For example, s. 5(4) of the Citizenship Act states that:
(4) In order to alleviate cases of special and unusual hardship or to reward services of an exceptional value to Canada, and notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the Governor in Council may, in his discretion, direct the Minister to grant citizenship to any person and, where such a direction is made, the Minister shall forthwith grant citizenship to the person named in the direction.
In other words, notwithstanding anything else in the Citizenship Act, an individual may be granted citizenship in order to alleviate cases of hardship or to reward services of exceptional value to Canada.
However, s. 22(1) of the same Act states that:
(a) while the person is, pursuant to any enactment in force in Canada,
(i) under a probation order,
(ii) a paroled inmate, or
(iii) confined in or is an inmate of any penitentiary, jail, reformatory or prison;
In other words, notwithstanding anything else in the Citizenship Act, an individual may not be granted citizenship if they are under a probation order, are a paroled inmate, or are in prison.
How does one reconcile these two sections of Canada’s Citizenship Act, and what should one do if one finds other contradictions?
In Frankowski v.Read more ›
The governing Conservative Party of Canada is having their convention from June 9-11. One of the measures that the party will be debating is whether to adopt as official party a policy that would strip people of their citizenship if they take up arms against the Canadian Armed Forces or its allies.
The proposal reads:
98. Canadian Citizenship and High Treason
The Conservative Party of Canada believes that any Canadian citizen, whether by birth or by naturalized grant of Canadian citizenship or by claim of landed immigrant or refugee status in Canada who commits treason by taking up arms against the Canadian Forces or the Forces of Canada’s Allies automatically invalidates his or her Canadian citizenship or claim to Canadian citizenship and, if and when returned to the jurisdiction of the Canadian Legal System, should be tried for high treason under the Canadian Criminal Code.
This is an interesting proposal, and before vigorously supporting or opposing it one should consider the following questions and issues that inevitably emerge from adopting such a policy:
- Do you think that a person who fights against the Canadian military should lose their citizenship?
- If yes, then do you think that that should extend to anyone who fights against the military of an ally?
- What do you consider to be an ally? Is any NATO country an ally? Turkey? India?
- What are arms? Is a knife or rock an arm?
- If you generally support the notion, then what about a Palestinian-Canadian who throws a rock at an Israeli soldier? Should that person lose his/her citizenship?
- What if the incident doesn’t occur on foreign soil, but on Canadian? What if there is an Oka like situation whereby an aboriginal youth throws a rock at a Canadian soldier?
Confusion exists regarding what the residency test for citizenship is. Bill C-37 provides that someone must be physically present in Canada for three out of the four years before applying for citizenship. However, this Bill is not yet in force. The Koo test therefore still applies.Read more ›
There are two ways that a person can be born a Canadian citizen. The first is if a person is born in Canada. The second is if a person is born to a Canadian parent, also known as citizenship by descent. However, it is important for Canadians abroad to note that as of 2009, citizenship by descent is effectively limited to one generation born outside Canada.
Section 3(3)(a) of the Citizenship Act (the “Act“) provides that:
(3) Subsection (1) does not apply to a person born outside Canada
(a) if, at the time of his or her birth or adoption, only one of the person’s parents is a citizen and that parent is a citizen under paragraph (1)(b), (c.1), (e), (g) or (h), or both of the person’s parents are citizens under any of those paragraphs;
Subsection 3(1)(b) of the Act provides that:
3. (1) Subject to this Act, a person is a citizen if
(b) the person was born outside Canada after February 14, 1977 and at the time of his birth one of his parents, other than a parent who adopted him, was a citizen;
Subsection 3(1)(c.1) provides that:
3. (1) Subject to this Act, a person is a citizen if
(c.1) the person has been granted citizenship under section 5.1 (editor’s notes: this discusses permanent resident spouses of citizens working abroad essentially for the government);
Subsection 3(1)(e) provides that:
(3) Subsection (1) does not apply to a person born outside Canada
(e) the person was entitled, immediately before February 15, 1977, to become a citizen under paragraph 5(1)(b) of the former Act
Subsection 3(1)(g) provides that:
3.Read more ›
The Citizenship Test has been expanded to include questions on architecture and volunteerism.Read more ›
Those reading about the immigration debate raging in the United States over Arizona’s recent attempt at passing Senate Bill 1070 might be forgiven for missing a quieter discussion that is taking place in the immigration community about recent calls by prominent Republicans for the abolition of birthright citizenship. Should Canada do the same?Read more ›
Please note that none of the information on this website should be construed as being legal advice. As well, you should not rely on any of the information contained in this website when determining whether and how to apply to a given program. Canadian immigration law is constantly changing, and the information above may be dated. If you have a question about the contents of this blog, or any question about Canadian immigration law, please contact the Author.
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