Changes to the Citizenship Act Proposed in Bill C-24


Recently, there have been several changes to the Canadian Citizenship Act Bill C-24. It is important for those hoping to acquire citizenship and permanent residence in Canada to know and understand these new changes.

Proposed Changes to the Citizenship Act Bill C-24

Not understanding the new laws regarding Canadian Citizenship Act Bill C-24 can result in your application for citizenship to be denied, or held up. For these reasons, here is a list of the various changes:

Residency Requirements

  • While the old act required applicants to reside in Canada for three out of four years, the new act requires applicants reside in Canada for four out of six years.
  • While the old act did not have an intent to reside provision, the new one does.
  • The old act did not require the applicant be physically present. The new act requires they are physically present for at least 183 days a year in four out of six years.

Language Requirements

  • The old act required applicants between the ages of 18 and fifty four meet the language requirements, and pass a test on their knowledge of the language. The new act requires applicants between the ages of 14 and 64 meet the language requirements and pass the test.
  • The old act required applicants to meet the knowledge requirements with help from an interpreter. The new act requires applicants to meet the knowledge requirements in either French or English.

“Lost Canadians” Guidelines

  • In 2009, under a change in the law, many of the “Lost Canadians” had their citizenship restored. However, some were not covered by that change, and were denied citizenship.
  • The new act extends citizenship for “Lost Canadians” born before 1947, and their children which were born abroad.

Criminal History Guidelines

  • The old act barred citizenship for anyone charged and convicted of domestic crimes.
  • The new act extends this bar on people who were charged and convicted of foreign crimes as well as domestic crimes.

Application and Evidence Guidelines

  • The old act had limited authority as to what constituted a complete applicant. The complete application guidelines were unclear.
  • The new act establishes full authority to define what constitutes a complete application, and what evidence applicants are required to provide.

Decision Making

  • The old act granted citizenship in a three step process. This made for a much longer application, and a much longer processing time.
  • Under the new act, citizenship is granted in a single step process. This will reduce duplication and makes the application processing time much shorter.

Income Tax Guidelines

  • Under the old act, applicants were not required to file a Canadian income tax return in order to be granted citizenship.
  • The new act requires all adult applicants to file a Canadian income tax return in order to be eligible for Canadian citizenship.

Military Guidelines

  • The old act had no protection or fast track citizenship for members of the military.
  • The new act has a fast track method for citizenship for individuals in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Are You Interested in Becoming a Canadian Citizen?

Knowing and understanding the new changes to the Citizenship Act is important for any applicant. It can mean the difference between being approved citizenship, and having your application denied. If you have immigration questions, we may have the answers you seek. We work with qualified immigration lawyers who can help. Contact us to book a consultation.

Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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