Canada: Government Of Canada Amends The Citizenship Act

Last Updated: August 1 2017
Article by Henry Chang

On June 19, 2017, Bill C-6, which proposed numerous amendments to the Canadian Citizenship Act, (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-29), received Royal Assent.  Bill C-6 attempts to reverse many of the changes contained in the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act (the "2014 Act"), which was enacted by the former Conservative Government back in 2014. 

Many of the amendments described in Bill C-6 came into effect immediately on June 1, 2017.  However, some changes are expected to come into effect later this year.  Other changes are expected to come into effect in 2018. 

A summary of the key provisions contained in Bill C-6, and their effective dates, appears below.

Revocation of Canadian Citizenship for Reasons of National Security

Prior to Bill C-6, dual citizens who engaged in certain actions contrary to national security, while holding Canadian citizenship, could have their Canadian citizenship revoked.  This included convictions for treason, spying, and terrorism offences (depending on the sentence received), and being part of an armed force of a country or organized group engaged in conflict with Canada [Subsection 10(1)].  This provision has now been repealed, effective June 19, 2017. 

Intention to Reside in Canada No Longer a Requirement

Prior to Bill C-6, applicants for Canadian citizenship were required to demonstrate that they intended to reside in Canada, if their application was granted [Paragraph 5(1)(c.1)].  This provision has now been repealed, effective June 19, 2017.

Repeal of Minimum Age for Naturalization

Prior to Bill C-6, minors (persons under the age of 18) could not apply to naturalize as a Canadian citizen [Paragraph 5(1)(b)].  However, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship still had the discretion to waive the requirement, based on compassionate grounds [Paragraph 5(3)(b)].   

The age requirement for citizenship has now been repealed, as of June 19, 2017.  Minors may now apply to naturalize as Canadian citizens without requiring discretionary relief.

Reduction in the Required Period of Physical Presence

Prior to Bill C-6, in order to naturalize as Canadian citizens, applicants had to be physically present in Canada for 1,460 days (four years) during the preceding six years, be physically present in Canada at least 183 days during each of at least four calendar years, and to have filed at least four income tax returns during the preceding six years [Paragraph 5(1)(c)]

Under Bill C-6, applicants will only need to be physically present in Canada for at least 1,095 days (three years) out of the preceding five years.  They must also have filed at least three income tax returns (instead of four) during the preceding five years.  There is no longer a requirement that applicants spend at least 183 days during each eligible calendar year. 

This amendment is expected to come into effect later this year.

Limiting the Requirement to Demonstrate Knowledge of Canada and its Official Languages

Prior to Bill C-6, applicants for naturalization who were between the ages of 18 and 64 were required to demonstrate an adequate knowledge of: (1) Canada and of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship [Subsection 5(d)], and (2) one of Canada's official languages [Subsection 5(e)]

Under Bill C-6, this requirement will only apply to applicants between the ages of 18 and 54.  This reinstates the applicable age that was in place prior to the 2014 Act. 

This amendment is expected to come into effect later this year.

Counting Time Spent in Canada Prior to Obtaining Permanent Residence

Prior to Bill C-6, time spent in Canada prior to becoming a permanent resident did not count towards the physical presence requirement for Canadian citizenship [Paragraph 5(1)(c)]

Under Bill C-6, for every day that an applicant was physically present in Canada as a temporary resident or a protected person before becoming a permanent resident of Canada will be counted as half a day of physical presence for the purposes of citizenship, up to a maximum of 365 days.  This more or less reinstates the method of calculation used prior to the 2014 Act.

This amendment is expected to come into effect later this year.

Authority to Seize Fraudulent or Improperly Obtained Documents

Prior to Bill C-6, there was no express authority for citizenship officers to seize fraudulently or improperly obtained documents provided in connection with the Citizenship Act

Under Bill C-6, citizenship officers will be able to seize any document provided in connection with the Citizenship Act, if they have reason to believe that it was fraudulently or improperly obtained or used, or if it is necessary to prevent its fraudulent or improper use.  This amendment is expected to come into effect in 2018.

Federal Court to Adjudicate All Revocation Cases

Prior to Bill C-6, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada had the authority to revoke a person's citizenship or renunciation of citizenship if they obtained, retained, renounced or resumed their citizenship by false representation or fraud or by knowingly concealing material circumstances [Subsection 10(1)].  The Federal Court had jurisdiction to adjudicate such cases only where they involved security grounds, human or international right violations, and organized criminality [Subsection 10.1(1)]

Under Bill C-6, the Federal Court will have jurisdiction to adjudicate all revocation cases, unless the individual requests that the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship make the decision.  This amendment is expected to come into effect in 2018.

Conclusion

While Bill C-6 does not represent a complete repeal of the 2014 Act, it eases many of the key eligibility requirements for citizenship, including the physical presence requirement and the requirement to demonstrate knowledge of Canada and its official languages.  Bill C-6 also eliminates some of the more controversial elements of the 2014 Act, including the ability to revoke the Canadian citizenship of dual nationals based on national security grounds. 

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Henry Chang
 
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.