New Bill Allows Canadians to Extend Citizenship to Children Born Abroad

#citizenship #permanentresidence

A new bill filed in the House of Commons could significantly change Canadian citizenship laws. The proposed legislation seeks to allow Canadians to convey citizenship rights to their children born outside the nation, potentially increasing the number of new citizens.

Changes in Citizenship Law

Former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government altered the law in 2009, making it impossible for Canadian parents born overseas to pass on their citizenship unless their child was born in Canada.

This modification has far-reaching consequences, particularly for persons known as "Lost Canadians" who were denied citizenship rights due to these amendments.

The new measure aims to repeal these amendments, which a court recently ruled unconstitutional. It intends to expand citizenship by descent beyond the first generation born outside of Canada.

Under the proposed legislation, children born after 2009 affected by earlier modifications would automatically gain citizenship rights. In addition, a new test would be introduced for infants born after the bill takes effect.

Parents born outside of Canada must have lived in Canada for at least three years before the birth or adoption date to pass on Canadian citizenship to their child. Despite the bill's potential significance, the government has yet to estimate how many people will become citizens if passed.

Implications and Response

Immigration Minister Marc Miller underlined the need for fair, accessible, and clear regulations on Canadian citizenship. He emphasized the country's commitment to human rights and equality and the global importance of Canadian citizenship.

The Ontario Superior Court's decision against the current system, which creates two classes of Canadians, sparked legislative action. The 2009 reforms had far-reaching effects on families, resulting in separations and difficulties for those labelled stateless due to the law's punitive tone.

Kathryn Burton's case, born in the United States to a Canadian mother, demonstrates the unexpected repercussions of past legislation. She could not convey citizenship to her children despite her First Nations status. Her efforts and similar stories drew the administration's attention to addressing these concerns immediately.

Previous attempts to reform citizenship laws, such as a private member's bill introduced by Conservative Sen. Yonah Martin, were unsuccessful in the legislative process. Concerns about the extent and implications of proposed modifications sparked disputes and delays, highlighting the intricacies inherent in citizenship reform.

The proposed bill's presentation represents a step toward righting past wrongs and providing equitable access to Canadian citizenship. As the legislative process progresses, stakeholders and impacted citizens anticipate the outcome, hoping for a fair and inclusive resolution.


Why was the earlier law declared unconstitutional?

The Ontario Superior Court ruled that the 2009 bill was unconstitutional because it created two classes of Canadians, which violates equality principles.

Will this bill impact children born before 2009?

The bill specifically addresses children born after 2009 impacted by the 2009 legislative changes. It does not specifically include children born before this time.


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