The citizenship Bill C-24 enforced in June 11, 2015 which reminds Canadians that citizenship is not a right but a privilege is set to be repealed as Immigration Minister John McCallum introduced his new bill when the House of Commons began sitting in February 25, 2016.
The various changes enacted under Bill C-24, also known as the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act perceived by many to be restrictive includes the increase in the time needed to get citizenship after becoming a permanent resident, not counting the time spent in Canada before securing permanent residence, change in the age requirement of who needs to pass the knowledge test to prove knowledge about Canada and perhaps the most notable one is the government could revoke citizenship for certain people convicted of terrorism and related offences.
During the fall 2015 election campaign, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to repeal the very controversial bill C-24. For PM Trudeau, a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian, subjecting Canadians to a two-tiered citizenship and making it conditional devalues the citizenship of every Canadian.
The proposed changes to Canadian citizenship law will include:
- Repealing the provision that revokes citizenship from dual Canadian citizens convicted of terrorism, treason or espionage or related crimes.
- Repealing the intent to reside provision that raised immigrants’ fear that their citizenship could be revoked if they moved outside of Canada.
- Reducing the length of time that someone must be physically present in Canada to qualify for citizenship from four out of six years to three out of five.
- Allowing time in Canada before permanent residency to count toward physical residency requirements, which would benefit refugees and those previously in Canada on study or work permits.
- Eliminating the 183 days of physical presence requirement, applicants would no longer need to be physically present for 183 days in Canada during each of four calendar years that are within the six years immediately before applying for citizenship.
- Amending the age range for language and citizenship knowledge exams, allowing those under 18 or older than 54 to be exempted.
- Tightening certain areas of the Citizenship Act, including (1) the time spent under a conditional sentence in the community can no longer count towards the physical presence requirements for citizenship and those serving a conditional sentence order can no longer be granted citizenship; (2) all applicants all applicants to continue to meet the requirements of citizenship until they take the Oath, regardless of when their application was received and (3) creating the authority to seize documents if there are reasonable grounds to believe they are fraudulent or being used fraudulently.
According to Minister McCallum, the Liberal government has two main goals in making changes to the Citizenship Act, that is to make it impossible for the government to take away someone’s citizenship, and to reduce the barriers currently in place that people have to overcome. Canadians can expect an announcement from the government regarding the proposed legislation, “in the coming days and weeks, but not very many weeks.”
The information on this article is obtained from various resources, if you happen to be impacted by these changes or you have issues with your citizenship status please seek appropriate counsel.
References and Resources:
An overview of proposed changes to the Citizenship Act, Citizenship Immigration Canada, retrieved February 25, 2016
Ottawa reverses course of Canada’s ‘easier to lose, harder to get’ citizenship, The Star, retrieved February 25, 2016
Changes coming soon to Citizenship Act, John McCallum says, CBC News, retrieved February 25, 2016
Liberals introduce bill to repeal many Conservative citizenship changes, The Globe and Mail, retrieved February 25, 2016