Bill C-6 – How the Liberals are Changing Canadian Citizenship Law

1st Mar 2016 Comments Off on Bill C-6 – How the Liberals are Changing Canadian Citizenship Law

Last updated on June 25th, 2018

On February 25, 2016, the Liberal Government of Canada introduced Bill C-6, An Act to Amend the Citizenship Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act (“Bill C-6”).  Bill C-6 was highly anticipated as during the 2015 election campaign the Liberal Party of Canada (the “Liberals”) made repealing portions of the then Conservative Government of Canada’s Bill C-24, The Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, one of the key pillars of their election platform.  Specifically, the Liberals promised to repeal the provisions of Bill C-24 that provided the Canadian government the ability to revoke the citizenship of certain citizens for national security concerns, to re-allow international students to count as half-days the time that they spent in Canada studying towards the residency requirement to apply for citizenship, and to eliminate the requirement that new Canadian citizens declare that they intend to reside in Canada.  The overall theme that the Liberals stressed during the campaign was that they would make it easier for “hard-working” immigrants to become Canadian citizens.

Bill C-6 goes beyond the Liberals’ specific promises listed above while remaining true to their campaign theme.  Bill C-6 amends many additional aspects of Canada’s Citizenship Act, including reducing the time that it takes for permanent residents to become eligible to apply for citizenship and reinstating the language and knowledge test exemptions that existed prior to Bill C-24.  Ultimately, however, if Bill C-6 is the final change that the Liberal Government of Canada makes to Canadian citizenship legislation, then it cannot be said that the Liberals are repealing Bill C-24, let alone undoing all of the Conservative Party of Canada’s (the “Conservatives”) changes to Canadian citizenship law.

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