Canadian Citizenship Laws Set to Change

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Under Canada’s former Conservative government, various amendments to Canada’s Citizenship Act were enacted, with rather restrictive features. Among other matters, the time needed to get citizenship after becoming a permanent resident was increased, time spent in Canada before securing permanent residence was no longer counted, and perhaps most notably, the government could revoke citizenship for certain people convicted of terrorism and related offences.

Canada’s new Liberal government, elected in November 2015, is set to reverse or change many of the amendments enacted by the prior government, in accordance with its election promises.

Though not enacted yet, the government has announced that the following changes will soon be forthcoming with regard to Canadian citizenship law.

The Canadian government will:

  • Repeal the provision whereby Canada can revoke citizenship of dual nationals convicted of ‘terrorism’, or related crimes.
  • Repeal a provision whereby citizenship applicants must declare their intent to continue to reside in Canada. The new government has stated that Canadian citizens should not be restricted from their ability to move outside Canada.
  • Reduce the physical presence in Canada timeframe required by permanent residents for eligibility before seeking citizenship. The current 4 out of the last 6 years, will be changed to 3 out of the last 5 years.
  • Allow time spent in Canada before becoming a permanent resident to be counted toward the citizenship physical presence requirement set out above. The law will allow citizenship applicants to count days in Canada as a temporary resident as ½ days for up to a maximum of 1 years’ worth of residency for the purposes of a citizenship application.
  • No longer require 183 days of physical presence within each of the years of the residency requirement, as had been established by the prior government.
  • Require language and knowledge tests only for applicants aged 18 to 54 (as had been the law prior to the current legislation). The Conservative government had expanded the range to include those aged 14 to 64.

There will be some additional enhancements to the administration of the Citizenship Act, but the above represent a major revision of citizenship law in Canada. Anyone impacted by these changes should of course seek appropriate counsel as to any actions that may be necessary.

This post originally appeared on Kranc Associates. Copyright © 2016 Kranc Associates. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.


About The Author

Benjamin A. Kranc Benjamin A. Kranc is senior principal of Kranc Associates, a leading Canadian corporate immigration law firm. He has many years of experience assisting clients in connection with Canadian immigration and business issues. Ben is certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as a Specialist in Immigration Law. He is also on the ‘Who’s Who Legal’ list of foremost practitioners in Canadian corporate immigration, as well as rated as AV Preeminent® in a Martindale-Hubbell peer review. Ben has spoken at numerous conferences, seminars, and information sessions – both for professional organizations and private groups – about issues in Canadian immigration law, and has also taught immigration law at Seneca College in Toronto. In addition, Ben has written extensively. He is the author of a leading text on Canadian immigration law entitled “North American Relocation Law” (Thomson Reuters) and contributing immigration author to the “The Human Resources Advisor” (First Reference Books). Ben can be contacted at (416) 977-7500 ext. 226, or bkranc@kranclaw.com.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.