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Canadian nationality law


Canadian nationality law

Canadian citizenship
This article is part of a series
Immigration to Canada
History of immigration to Canada
Economic impact of immigration
Canadian immigration and refugee law
Immigration Act, 1976
Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
Permanent residency
Temporary residency
Permanent Resident Card
Canadian nationality law
History of nationality law
Citizenship Act 1946
Citizenship Test
Oath of Citizenship
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Passport Canada
Citizenship classes
Honorary citizenship
Commonwealth citizen
Lost Canadians
"Canadians of convenience"
Demographics of Canada
Population by year
Ethnic origins

Canadian nationality law determines who is and who is not a Canadian citizen. Canadian nationality is typically obtained by birth in Canada, birth abroad when at least one parent is a Canadian citizen and was born or naturalized in Canada, or by adoption abroad by at least one Canadian citizen. It can also be granted to a permanent resident who has lived in Canada for a period of time.


  • History of British subject into Canadian citizenship 1
  • Birth in Canada 2
  • Canadian citizenship by descent 3
  • 2009 amendments to the Citizenship Act 4
  • Naturalization as a Canadian citizen 5
    • Children aged under 18 5.1
    • Citizenship ceremonies 5.2
  • Canadian citizenship by adoption 6
  • Loss of Canadian citizenship 7
    • Lost Canadians 7.1
  • Resumption of Canadian citizenship 8
  • The Royal Family 9
  • Judicial review of provisions of current and previous citizenship acts 10
  • Rights and responsibilities of citizens 11
  • Documentary proof of Canadian citizenship 12
  • Commonwealth citizenship 13
  • See also 14
  • Notes 15
  • References 16
  • Further reading 17
  • External links 18

History of British subject into Canadian citizenship

First official Canadian Citizenship ceremony; at the Supreme Court Building, Ottawa, 1947

After Canadian Confederation was achieved in 1867, the new Dominion's "nationality law" initially closely mirrored that of the United Kingdom and all Canadians were classified as "British subject"s. Section 91(25) of the "British North America Act", 1867, passed by the British Parliament in London, (now referred to as the "Constitution Act", 1867), however, gave the Parliament of Canada authority over "Naturalization and Aliens." The "Immigration Act", 1910, for example, created the status of "Canadian citizen."[1] This distinguished those "British subjects" who were born, naturalized, or domiciled in Canada from those who were not, but was only applied for the purpose of determining whether someone was free of immigration controls.[2] The Naturalization Act, 1914, increased the period of residence required to qualify for naturalization in Canada as a "British subject" from three years to five years. A separate additional status of "Canadian national" was created under the Canadian Nationals Act, 1921, in order that Canada could participate in international forces or military expeditions separately from Britain.

Canadian independence from Britain was obtained incrementally between 1867 (confederation and Dominion status within the Empire) and 1982 (patriation of the Canadian constitution). In 1931, the Statute of Westminster provided that the United Kingdom would have no legislative authority over Dominions without the request and consent of that Dominion's government to have a British law become part of the law of the Dominion. The law also left the British North America Acts within the purvue of the British parliament, because the federal government and the provinces could not agree on an amending formula for the Canadian constitution. (Similarly, the neighbouring Dominion of Newfoundland did not become independent because it never ratified the Statute.) When, in 1982, the British and Canadian parliaments produced the mutual Canada Act 1982 (UK) and Constitution Act 1982 (Canada), which included a constitutional amendment process, the UK ceased to have any legislative authority whatsoever over Canada.

By the 1930s and the outbreak of World War II, Canada's naturalization laws consisted of a hodgepodge of confusing acts,[3] which still retained the term "British subject" as the designation for "Canadian nationals." This eventually conflicted with the nationalism that eventually rose amongst North America's Canadians following the sacrifices and heroism shown by Canadian troops on their own in various war fronts in the First World War and later increasing following the publicity of the larger Canadian Army in the Second World War, the spreading use of newspapers with the installation of radios in most homes by the 1920s and 1930s beaming news and entertainment into all homes, followed by television's impact after World War II, and with the increasing population with the domestic, cultural and artistic accomplishments of native Canadians and increased participation of assimilated immigrant groups brought an accompanying desire to have the Dominion of Canada's sovereign status reflected in distinct nationalistic symbols (such as flags, anthem seal, etc.).[4] This, plus the muddled nature of existing nationality law, prompted the enactment of the "Canadian Citizenship Act, 1946", which took effect on 1 January 1947. On that date, "Canadian citizenship" was conferred on most Canadians previously classified as "British subjects." Subsequently, on 1 April 1949, Canadian nationality law was extended to the Newfoundland, upon the former British colony (but long-time Canadian neighbour and cooperative government) joining the Canadian confederation as the Province of Newfoundland.

Canadian nationality law was substantially revised again on 15 February 1977, when the new "Citizenship Act" came into force. From that date, multiple citizenship became legal. However, those who had lost Canadian citizenship before that date did not automatically have it restored until 17 April 2009, when Bill C-37 became law.[5] The 2009 act, the most recent major change to laws governing Canadian citizenship, limited the issuance of citizenship to children born outside Canada to Canadian ancestors (jus sanguinis) to one generation abroad.[6]

Birth in Canada

In general, everyone born in Canada from 1947 or later acquires Canadian citizenship at birth. In one 2008 case, a girl born to a Ugandan mother aboard a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Boston was deemed a Canadian citizen for customs' purposes because she was born over Canada's airspace.[7]

The only exceptions concern children born to diplomats, where additional requirements apply.

Section 3(2) of the current act states that Canadian citizenship is not granted to a child born in Canada if either parent was a diplomatic or consular officer or other representative at the time of birth and neither parent was a Canadian citizen or Canadian permanent resident.

However, should the immigration status of the parents of such persons change to permanent resident, a child may be granted citizenship immediately, or when the parents acquire citizenship through naturalization, at the discretion of Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

In 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney proposed to modify the jus soli birthright citizenship recognised in Canadian law as a means of discouraging birth tourism,[8] most likely by requiring at least one of the parents be resident in Canada.[9]

Canadian citizenship by descent

Every person born outside of Canada in the first generation abroad is a Canadian citizen by descent. Prior to Bill C-37 becoming law on 17 April 2009, this only applied to those people born after 15 February 1977 (those born prior to this date but who did not have citizenship reacquired it or gained it retroactive to their date of birth or date citizenship was lost). Every such person whose Canadian parent or parents were also not born in Canada and obtained their citizenship at birth by descent (second generation born abroad) must have successfully applied to maintain their Canadian citizenship before their 28th birthday, that is, if their 28th birthday took place before 17 April 2009. People falling into that category who did not take steps to maintain their citizenship lost their citizenship on that birthday.

With Bill C-37[10] coming into effect on 17 April 2009, there is no longer a requirement or any allowance to apply to maintain citizenship. Additionally, the first generation rule requires at least one parent to be born in Canada or be a naturalized Canadian citizen in order to pass citizenship to their children born outside of Canada (government and Canadian Forces employees are exempt from this rule).

2009 amendments to the Citizenship Act

An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (S.C. 2008, c. 14) (previously Bill C-37)[10] came into effect on 17 April 2009[11] and changed the rules for Canadian citizenship. Individuals born outside of Canada can now become Canadian citizens by descent if one of their parents is a citizen of Canada either by having been born in Canada or by naturalization. The new law limits citizenship by descent to one generation born outside Canada. One of the changes instituted by the Government of Canada, is the "first generation limitation," considered a punitive measure by some against naturalized citizens who reside abroad for lengthy periods of time. Jason Kenney Minister for Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism said the following in the House of Commons of Canada on 10 June 2010: "That's why we must protect the values of Canadian citizenship and must take steps against those who would cheapen it.... We will strengthen the new limitation on the ability to acquire citizenship for the second generation born abroad." [12] The new rules would not confer a Canadian citizenship on children born outside of Canada to parents who were themselves Canadian citizens by birth but not born in Canada. Thus the new rule makes a distinction between Canadian citizens born in Canada and immigrants granted citizenship on the one hand and citizens by birth who were born outside Canada on the other who have attenuated rights to pass on citizenship to their children.

In a scenario, the new rules would apply like this: A child is born in Brazil in 2005 (before the new rules came in effect) to a Canadian citizen father, who himself is a born abroad citizen by descent, and a Brazilian mother who is only a Permanent Resident of Canada. Child automatically becomes a Canadian citizen at birth. Another child born after 17 April 2009 in the same scenario would not be considered a Canadian citizen. The child is considered born past "first generation limitation" and the parents (the father) would have to sponsor the child to Canada to become a Permanent Resident, (a lengthy process which may take from one to four years ) Once the Permanent Residency is granted, a Canadian parent can apply for Canadian citizenship on behalf of the child, without the required three-year-residency rule, however.[13]

Every person born outside Canada but within one generation of the native-born or naturalized citizen parent is automatically a Canadian citizen by descent (retroactive to date of birth or date citizenship was lost).[10] The second generation born abroad, however, is not a citizen of Canada at birth. Such an individual might even be stateless if without claim to any other citizenship. (This situation actually occurred to a child born in China to a father who is a Canadian citizen born outside Canada.[14]) The second generation born abroad can gain Canadian citizenship only by immigrating to Canada; this can be done by the Canadian citizen's parents sponsoring as a dependent children, a category with fewer requirements, which would also take less time than most other immigration application categories.

Under new rules, introduced in 2009, foreign nationals being adopted by Canadian citizens can now acquire Canadian citizenship immediately upon completion of the adoption, without entering Canada as a permanent resident as under the previous rules.

Naturalization as a Canadian citizen

A person who is a permanent resident may apply for Canadian citizenship by naturalization (grant) subject to the following conditions.

The person:

  • is aged 18 years or over
  • is a permanent resident
  • has lived in Canada for a total of 1095 days during the four years preceding the application for citizenship, including a minimum of two years as a permanent resident
  • has knowledge of Canada (as demonstrated by taking the Canadian Citizenship Test, which is required as part of the application process, but only if the applicant is between 18 and 54 years of age)
  • is not a subject to any criminal prohibitions
  • is not a war criminal
  • is able to speak English or French well enough to communicate with people[15]

Bill C-24, the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, was introduced in February 2014. The bill would raise citizenship requirements from 1095 days (3 years total) during the four years preceding the application to 1460 days (4 years total) during the six years preceding the application, with the minimum time as a permanent resident also raised to 4 years as no credit would be given for time spent in Canada as a temporary resident. Applicants must also have been in Canada for 183 days in four of the six years relevant to their application date. The language and knowledge requirement is extended to those 14 to 64 years of age.[16]

Children aged under 18

The naturalization requirements for children under 18 are different from those for adults.

  • the child should be a permanent resident
  • a parent of the child should be a Canadian citizen or in the process of applying for Canadian citizenship

The residence & other requirements do not normally apply to those aged under 18.

Citizenship ceremonies

All applicants for Canadian citizenship aged 14 or over must attend a citizenship ceremony as the final stage of their application.

Canadian citizenship by adoption

In May 2006 the Canadian government introduced draft legislation, Bill C-14: An Act to Amend the Citizenship Act (Adoption) which is designed to allow adopted children the right to apply for immediate citizenship. This bill received Royal Assent on 22 June 2007.[17]

Bill C-14 consists of only four clauses. Clause 1 amends section 3 of the Citizenship Act so that adopted children who attain citizenship without first obtaining permanent resident status are Canadian citizens. Clause 2 applies to adopted children who are minors and also to those who are at least 18 years of age; it amends section 5 of the Citizenship Act and provides that, subject to certain conditions, the Minister shall grant citizenship to children who are adopted abroad after 14 February 1977. Clause 2 also has a special provision for adoptions that are under the jurisdiction of Quebec.

Loss of Canadian citizenship

Under Canadian law there was no provision for involuntary loss of Canadian citizenship except:

  • naturalized Canadians can have their citizenship revoked if convicted of fraud in relation to their citizenship application, or their original admission to Canada as an immigrant

Similar provisions also exist under the nationality laws of the UK, US, Israel, Australia, New Zealand and Spain.

However Bill C-24 has added other conditions under which a Canadian can lose their citizenship. Thereby returning the punishment of "exile" to Canada for certain crimes including but not limited to:

  • Committing an act of terrorism
  • Being convicted of an act of terrorism by a foreign court

Many Canadians lost their citizenship prior to 15 February 1977 through:

  • naturalization in another country
  • long residence overseas (prior to 1967)
  • if a child, based on a parent's loss of Canadian citizenship

See History of Canadian citizenship

A Canadian citizen who holds another nationality may in some cases renounce their Canadian status.

Lost Canadians

In February 2007, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration held hearings on so-called Lost Canadians,[18] who found out recently, on applying for passports, that for various reasons they may not be Canadian citizens as they thought.[19] Don Chapman, a witness before the committee, estimated that 700,000 Canadians have either lost their citizenship or are at risk of having it stripped.[19] However, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Diane Finley said her office has had just 881 calls on the subject. On 19 February 2007, she signed documents granting citizenship to 33 such individuals. Some of the reasons citizenship may have been lost is if the individual was born out of wedlock before 1977, or to a father who took a second citizenship. Another reason is if the child was born outside Canada, and failed to confirm their citizenship before turning 24 or 28. Some of the people affected reside in towns near the southern border, and hence were born in American hospitals.[20] Others, particularly Mennonites, were born to Canadian parents in Mexico or Paraguay.[21] An investigation by the CBC, based on Canadian census data, concluded that the problem could affect an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 individuals currently residing in Canada.[22]

On 29 May 2007, Canadian Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Diane Finley announced her proposal to amend the Citizenship Act. Under the proposal, anyone naturalized in Canada since 1947 would have citizenship even if they lost it under the 1947 Act. Also, anyone born since 1947 outside the country to a Canadian mother or father, in or out of wedlock, would have citizenship if they are the first generation born abroad.[23] Appearing before the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, Finley asserted that as of 24 May 2007, there were only 285 cases of individuals in Canada whose citizenship status needs to be resolved.[24] Under the proposed legislation, anyone born before 1947 to a Canadian citizen abroad would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis; such individuals would have to apply for a ministerial permit.[25]

Bill C-37, which received Royal Assent on 17 April 2009, amended the Citizenship Act to give Canadian citizenship to those who lost or never had it, due to outdated provisions in existing and former legislation. The law came into effect on 17 April 2009.

Resumption of Canadian citizenship

Former Canadian citizens who lost their citizenship as adults are generally required to obtain landed immigrant (permanent resident) status under normal rules and live in Canada for one year in order to resume Canadian citizenship. Former Canadians who lost British subject status before 1947 have no specific rights to Canadian citizenship, except in the case of women who lost British subject status on marriage to a foreign man.

On 22 September 1988, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney agreed to a redress package for Japanese-Canadians deported from Canada between 1941 and 1946 (about 4,000 in total) and their descendants. The package authorized a special grant of Canadian citizenship for any such person. All descendants of deported persons were also eligible for the grant of citizenship provided that they were living on 22 September 1988, regardless of whether the person actually deported from Canada was still alive.

The Royal Family

Though she resides predominantly in the United Kingdom and it is uncertain whether a monarch is subject to his or her own citizenship laws,[26] the Queen of Canada is considered Canadian.[26][27][28] She and those others in the Royal Family who do not meet the requirements of Canadian citizenship (there are four Canadian citizens within the Royal Family) are not classified by either the government or some constitutional experts as foreigners to Canada;[n 1][31][32] in the Canadian context, members of the Royal Family are subjects specifically of the monarch of Canada.[33][34] Members of the Royal Family have also, on occasion, declared themselves to be Canadian and called Canada "home".[n 2][26]

Judicial review of provisions of current and previous citizenship acts

There has been a number of court decisions dealing with the subject of Canadian citizenship. In particular, the interpretation of the 3-year (1,095-day) residence requirement enacted by the 1977 Citizenship Act, which does not define the term "residence" and, further, prohibits an appeal of a Federal Court decision in a citizenship matter to the Federal Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court, has "led to a great deal of mischief and agony"[40] and generated considerable judicial controversy.

Over the years 2 principal schools of thought with respect to residence have emerged from the Federal Court.

Early on, in 1978, Associate Chief Justice Arthur L. Thurlow in Papadogiorgakis (Re), [1978] 2 F.C. 208 [41] , opined that residency entails more than a mere counting of days. He held that residency is a matter of the degree to which a person, in mind or fact, settles into or maintains or centralizes his or her ordinary mode of living, including social relations, interests and conveniences. The question becomes whether an applicant's linkages suggest that Canada is his or her home, regardless of any absences from the country.

In Re Koo,[42] Justice Barbara Reed further elaborated that in residency cases the question before the Court is whether Canada is the country in which an applicant has centralized his or her mode of existence. Resolving such a question involves consideration of several factors:

  1. Was the individual physically present in Canada for a long period prior to recent absences which occurred immediately before the application for citizenship?
  2. Where are the applicant's immediate family and dependents (and extended family) resident?
  3. Does the pattern of physical presence in Canada indicate a returning home or merely visiting the country?
  4. What is the extent of the physical absences – if an applicant is only a few days short of the 1095 day total it is easier to find deemed residence than if those absences are extensive?
  5. Is the physical absence caused by a clearly temporary situation such as employment as a missionary abroad, following a course of study abroad as a student, accepting temporary employment abroad, accompanying a spouse who has accepted temporary employment abroad?
  6. What is the quality of the connection with Canada: is it more substantial than that which exists with any other country?

The general principle is that the quality of residence in Canada must be more substantial than elsewhere.

In contrast, a line of jurisprudence flowing from the decision in Re Pourghasemi (1993), 62 F.T.R. 122, 19 Imm. L.R. (2d) 259, emphasized how important it is for a potential new citizen to be immersed in Canadian society and that a person cannot reside in a place where the person is not physically present. Thus, it is necessary for a potential citizen to establish that he or she has been physically present in Canada for the requisite period of time.

In the words of Justice Francis Muldoon:

The co-existence of such disparate, yet equally valid approaches has led some judges to comment that the citizenship "law is in a sorry state,"[43] that "there cannot be two correct interpretations of a statute,"[44] that "it does not engender confidence in the system for conferring citizenship if an applicant is, in the course of a single application, subjected to different legal tests because of the differing legal views of the Citizenship Court,"[45] that there's a "scandalous incertitude in the law,"[46] and that "there is no doubt that a review of the citizenship decisions of this Court, on that issue, demonstrates that the process of gaining citizenship in such circumstances is akin to a lottery."[47]

In 2010 it seemed that a relative judicial consensus with respect to decision-making in residence cases might emerge. In several Federal Court decisions it was held that the Citizenship Judge must apply a hybrid two-test approach by firstly ascertaining whether, on the balance of probabilities, the applicant has accumulated 1,095 days of physical presence. If so, the residency requirement is considered to have been met. If not, then the judge must additionally assess the application under the "centralized mode of existence" approach, guided by the non-exhaustive factors set out in Koo (Re).[48][49][50]

However, most recently, this compromise formula was rejected by the Federal Court judges, who continued to plead for legislative intervention as the means to settle the residency requirement debacle.[51][52][53]

A few of the other major decisions are:

Significant cases relating to Canadian citizenship
Case Description
Glynos v. Canada, [1992] 3 FC 691 (FCA).[54] The Federal Court of Appeal ruled that the child of a Canadian mother had the right to be granted Canadian citizenship, despite the fact that the responsible parent of the child (i.e. the father) had naturalized as a U.S. citizen before 15 February 1977 and had thus lost his Canadian citizenship.
Benner v. Canada (Secretary of State) 1997 CanLII 376, [1997] 1 SCR 358 (27 February), Canada) The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that children born abroad before 15 February 1977 of Canadian mothers were to be treated the same as those of Canadian fathers (i.e. granted citizenship upon application without the requirements of a security check or taking a citizenship oath).
Canada (Attorney General) v. McKenna 1998 CanLII 9098, [1999] 1 FC 401 (19 October), Federal Court of Appeal (Canada) The Federal Court of Appeal ruled that the Minister had to establish a bona fide justification pursuant to section 15(g) of the Canadian Human Rights Act for the discriminatory practice in the Act on adoptive parentage, where children born abroad to Canadian citizens obtain "automatic" citizenship while children adopted outside Canada must gain admission to Canada as permanent residents, as mandated by paragraph 5(2)(a ) of the Citizenship Act, which incorporates by reference the requirements imposed by the Immigration Act pertaining to permanent resident status. However, this case also declared that the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal had overreached itself in declaring that the granting of citizenship was a service customarily available to the general public, and had breached the rules of natural justice by failing to notify the Minister that the provisions of the Citizenship Act were being questioned.
Taylor v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) 2007 CanLII 349, [2008] 3 FCR 324 (2 November), Federal Court of Appeal (Canada) The Federal Court of Canada had ruled in September 2006 that an individual born abroad and out of wedlock to a Canadian serviceman father and a non-Canadian mother acquired citizenship upon arrival in Canada after World War II and did not subsequently lose Canadian citizenship while living abroad.[55] This was reversed by the Federal Court of Appeal in November 2007, which held that Taylor had lost his Canadian citizenship under section 20 of the 1947 Act (absence from Canada for ten consecutive years), and therefore the court could not grant his request. However, he was now able to request a grant of citizenship under section 5(4) of the current Act (special cases),and citizenship was subsequently granted in December 2007.[56]

Rights and responsibilities of citizens

According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, citizens are:

  • Entitled to enjoy the rights guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (all persons present in Canada have these rights, regardless of citizenship).
  • Able to vote in political elections upon reaching the age of 18 (provided they are not absent from Canada for more than 5 years and intend to resume residency in Canada).
  • Able to run for political office upon reaching the age of 18.
  • Able to obtain a Canadian passport.
  • Able to prevent risk of getting deported from Canada (if the subject was born outside Canada, but is naturalized).
  • Able to work for the Federal government (where citizenship is usually required/preferred).
  • Allowed to live outside Canada indefinitely while retaining the right to return.
  • Able to pass on Canadian citizenship to children born outside Canada (to the first generation only).

Citizens are responsible for:

  • Serving on jury when reaching the age of majority, and if selected.
  • Obeying Canada's laws.
  • Respecting the rights and freedoms of others.
  • Helping others in the community.
  • Caring for and protecting the Canadian heritage and environment.
  • Eliminating discrimination and injustice.

Documentary proof of Canadian citizenship

For people who acquired citizenship by birth within Canada on or after 15 February 1977, a birth certificate issued by the province or territory concerned is adequate proof of the fact. Those born before that date must take note of the various rules concerning loss of citizenship that were previously in force, in order to confirm their status.

For people who acquired citizenship by birth outside Canada under the 1947 Act, a certificate of registration of birth abroad or a certificate of retention of Canadian citizenship issued before 15 February 1977 would also constitute proof of citizenship.

Otherwise, a certificate of Canadian citizenship (known under previous legislation as a "certificate of naturalization") is the only legal proof of such status.[57] It is issued to permanent residents who have applied for Canadian citizenship and have sworn the required oath of citizenship. It is also issued at the request of any other Canadian citizen, but could take many months to be issued.[58] It is illegal to be in possession of more than one certificate of citizenship or naturalization.[59]

A Canadian passport, while more appropriately known as a travel or identity document, is also seen as proof of Canadian citizenship, but it is issued only after review of other documentary proof, as noted above.

For decades, the Canadian Government issued both a commemorative certificate of Canadian citizenship and a credit card-sized certificate commonly called a Canadian Citizenship Card, which featured a photograph of the Canadian, along with biographical information, such as name, height and eye colour. Using these cards as photo identification was problematic. There was no legal requirement to periodically update the cards to take into account physical changes caused by aging, and the card lacked modern security features. Many Canadians who obtained citizenship as children continued to use cards issued to them as children as legal photo identification well into adulthood. Furthermore, obtaining a replacement photo card when the original was lost or stolen was time consuming, often taking many months, which could delay obtaining other forms of photo ID such as a passport. In 2012, the Government of Canada decided to discontinue the photo cards.[60] The commemorative certificates have been redesigned and are now recognized as the legitimate proof of Canadian citizenship.[60] In making this change, the government asserted that this change would make the document more secure, and ensure that proof of Canadian citizenship would no longer be used as an ID or travel document, and cited the prohibitive cost of replacing card making equipment and updating the photo ID cards with modern security features.[61]

Commonwealth citizenship

Because Canada is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, Canadian citizens also have the status of "Citizen of the Commonwealth", the functional meaning of which varies from one member state to another. Under British law, Canadians are entitled to certain rights in the United Kingdom, including:

  • access to the British working holiday visa scheme
  • for those with a British born grandparent, access to the UK Ancestry Entry Clearance
  • for those born before 1983 who meet the requirements, Right of Abode in the United Kingdom
  • if resident in the United Kingdom, the right to vote and stand for public office there[62]

The following right has also applied in other Commonwealth Realms, though it may not be current law in all of them:

  • While abroad in a country where Canada does not have a consular office, Canadians may receive assistance from an Australian consular office under the Canada-Australia Consular Services Sharing Agreement. In areas where neither country has a diplomatic mission, Canadians may receive assistance from a British office. In cases where a Canadian needs an emergency travel document and Canada does not maintain a consular office, Canadians may obtain, as Commonwealth citizens, a British emergency passport.

See also


  1. ^ The Department of National Defence, in its manual The Honours, Flags and Heritage Structure of the Canadian Forces, separates the monarch of Canada and Canadian Royal Family from "foreign sovereigns and members of reigning foreign families, [and] heads of state of foreign countries..."[29] Further, in 2013, the constitution of the Order of Canada was changed so as to add, along with the preexisting "substantive" (for Canadian citizens only) and "honorary" (for foreigners only), a new category of "extraordinary" to the order's three grades, available only to members of the Royal Family and governors general.[30]
  2. ^ Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh, said in 1951 that when in Canada she was "amongst fellow countrymen".[35][36] When queen, she, in 1983, before departing the United States for Canada, said "I'm going home to Canada tomorrow" and,[37] in 2005, said she agreed with the statement earlier made by her mother, Queen Elizabeth, that Canada felt like a "home away from home."[38] Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, refused honorary appointment to the Order of Canada on the grounds that, as the royal consort of the Queen, he was Canadian, and thus entitled to a substantive appointment.[26][39]


  1. ^ S.C. 1910, c. 27
  2. ^ Flournoy, Richard W; Hudson, Manley Ottmer (1983 (1930)). A Collection of nationality laws of various countries, as contained in .... F.B. Rothman. p. 73.  
  3. ^ "Forging Our Legacy: Canadian Citizenship And Immigration, 1900–1977". 
  4. ^ Citizenship and Immigration Canada. ""Forging Our Legacy: Canadian Citizenship And Immigration, 1900–1977 – The growth of Canadian nationalism"". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 17 July 2012. 
  5. ^ Citizenship and Immigration Canada (16 April 2008). "Legislation to restore citizenship to lost Canadians passes". Ottawa: Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 5 June 2009. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Baby girl born on US-bound flight". BBC News. 1 January 2009. 
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b c "Learn about the new law". 
  11. ^ See the Executive summary of the REGULATIONS AMENDING THE CITIZENSHIP REGULATIONS, 1993 (SOR/2009-108). The Act to amend the Citizenship Act itself states (sec. 14): "The provisions of this Act, other than section 13, come into force on a day or days to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council, but no later than 365 days after the day on which this Act receives royal assent." Royal assent was given on 17 April 2008. No Order in Council appears to have been made.
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ [2]
  14. ^ Vancouver, The (25 September 2009). "Citizenship Act creates a 'stateless' child". Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  15. ^ "Becoming a Canadian citizen: Who can apply". Citizenship and Immigration Canada. 16 March 2010. Retrieved 2 November 2010. 
  16. ^ Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada' 6 February 2014'
  17. ^ "Bill C-14: An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (adoption) (LS-528E)". Retrieved 27 July 2010. 
  18. ^ "CIMM – Loss of Canadian Citizenship for the years 1947, 1977 and 2007 – Committees of the House of Commons". Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  19. ^ a b
  20. ^ "Manitoba 'border babies' officially become Canadians". CBC News. 20 February 2007. 
  21. ^ staff (20 February 2007). "The hunt for lost Canadians | – Canada – Features". Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  22. ^ "450 'lost Canadians' caught in passport glitch: Finley". CBC News. 19 February 2007. 
  23. ^ "Statement from the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration on Proposed Changes to the Citizenship Act" (Press release). CIC Canada. 29 May 2007. Retrieved 30 May 2007. 
  24. ^ Finley, Diane (29 May 2007). """Notes for an Address by The Honourable Diane Finley, P.C., M.P. Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration "Main Estimates and Loss of Citizenship. Ottawa, Ontario. Retrieved 5 June 2009. 
  25. ^ News Staff (29 May 2007). "Citizenship limbo to end for war bride children". Retrieved 30 May 2007. 
  26. ^ a b c d  
  27. ^ Holloway, Ian (2007). "Constitutional Silliness and the Canadian Forces" (PDF). Canadian Monarchist News (Toronto: Monarchist League of Canada). Summer 2007 (26): 9. Archived from the original on 25 June 2008. Retrieved 14 June 2009. 
  28. ^ Buckner, Phillip (2005). "The Last Great Royal Tour: Queen Elizabeth's 1959 Tour to Canada". In Buckner, Phillip. Canada and the End of Empire. Vancouver: UBC Press. p. 66.  
  29. ^  
  30. ^  
  31. ^ Aralt Mac Giolla Chainnigh v. the Attorney-General of Canada, T-1809-06, 14.4 (Federal Court of Canada 21 January 2008).
  32. ^  
  33. ^ Department of National Defence 1999, p. 4-1-7
  34. ^ Noonan, Peter C. (1998). The Crown and Constitutional Law in Canada. Calgary: Sripnoon Publications.  
  35. ^  
  36. ^ Bousfield, Arthur; Toffoli, Gary (2002). Fifty Years the Queen. Toronto: Dundurn Press.  
  37. ^ "Monarchy > Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada". Canadian Royal Heritage Trust. Retrieved 10 May 2012. 
  38. ^ MacLeod 2008, p. 11
  39. ^  
  40. ^ "Imran v. Canada". Federal Court of Canada. 14 June 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2010. 
  41. ^ "In re Citizenship Act and in re Antonios E. Papadogiorgakis". Federal Court of Canada. 30 June 1978. Retrieved 14 December 2012. 
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  56. ^ Who is Joe Taylor ?
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Further reading

  • Kelley, Ninette; Michael J. Trebilcock (2010), The Making of the Mosaic: A History of Canadian Immigration Policy (2nd ed.), University of Toronto Press,  
  • DeRocco David, John F. Chabot (2008) From Sea to Sea to Sea: A Newcomer's Guide to Canada Full Blast Productions, ISBN 978-0-9784738-4-6
  • Noorani, Nick; Sabrina Noorani (2008), Arrival Survival Canada: A Handbook for New Immigrants, Oxford University Press,  
  • Stanford Frances, (2003) Citizenship and Immigration : Becoming a Canadian S&S Learning Materials, ISBN 1-55035-746-8

External links

  • How to become a citizen
  • Canada Citizenship Act & Regulations
  • CIC Citizenship Policy Manuals
  • Globe and Mail article on "Lost Canadians"
  • Legal Resource for Foreign Brides
  • legal case of immigration fraud
  • Revised Statutes of Canada 1970, containing Canadian Citizenship Act 1946 (88MB PDF file)
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