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Lost Canadians – Canadians who have never officially gotten their Canadian Citizenship or had it revoked because of strange loopholes in the Canadian Citizenship laws – may be getting closer to finding a solution to their problem.
An advocacy group called Lost Canadians has filed an application in federal court on the behalf of one man, to get him his Canadian Citizenship. The man, Peter Brammah, is 75 years old and has lived in Canada for 65 of those years, after moving to Canada with British parents. He’s also a veteran of the Royal Canadian Navy and has worked as a Calgary police officer. Only when he applied for a passport almost ten years ago did he discover he was not a Canadian citizen when his passport application was denied by the government. The government normally handles these issues on a case-by-case basis, but can sometimes take years to come to a resolution for the lost Canadians and their Canadian Citizenship.
While the group filed their current application in federal court on the behalf of one man, according to this article in the Toronto Star, they would prefer to see a mass granting of Canadian Citizenship by the government or a new act passed to deal with the problem instead of extending Canadian Citizenship individually to each person, one by one.
In 2009 the Canadian government passed Bill C-37, which gave Canadian Citizenship to hundreds of thousands of people who had their Canadian Citizenship taken away because of small loopholes in the citizenship laws in the first Canadian Citizenship Act. This first citizenship act was passed in 1947, and the 2009 bill was retroactive for all those born after the first act was passed. But Brammah and many others were born before 1947 just after or during World War II, so the 2009 bill doesn’t apply to them. It’s estimated that about five per cent of the hundreds of thousands of people grandfathered in under the 2009 law remain without Canadian Citizenship.
According to the Lost Canadians website, there are actually many strange ways one can lose Canadian Citizenship, and Lost Canadians estimates that about one million people fall under them.
Some of the ways to lose Canadian Citizenship if you were born prior to 1947 included being born in the United States to Canadian parents and not being registered, being born out of wedlock, being born outside of Canada to Canadian military parents, being a minor while your father took out citizenship in another country and being the child of a war bride that wasn’t naturalized.
This topic is also quite relevant with Remembrance Day so close, as a high number of Chinese Canadians served and died overseas in World War II before 1947 – and they may not be recognized as Canadians despite fighting and dying for Canada. Currently, many aging veterans are also finding themselves unable to claim benefits they are entitled to because of their lack of Canadian Citizenship, despite giving Canada years of military service.
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