Bill C-24, Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act
At the end of the month, Bill C-24, otherwise known as the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, partially came into effect, essentially introducing a two-tier citizenship system.
Below, we’re going to take a look at what this means for those who want to apply for Canadian citizenship, as well as current Canadian citizens.
Grants of Citizenship
First, let’s look at the main grants of citizenship according to Bill C-24.
- Physical residence: 1460 days
- Physical presence in Canada: 183 days
- Tax return requirements
- Intent to reside in Canada
- Knowledge of official languages
- Authority to grant citizenship
Revocation of Citizenship
The new law also means that dual citizens and those who have immigrated to Canada can potentially have their Canadian citizenship revoked, while other Canadians cannot. This part of Bill C-24 came into effect at the end of May, and has already been heavily criticized.
The Canadian government has stated that this discriminatory law could prevent potential “jihadi terrorism” attacks, but the argument is that this Bill could easily be used to revoke the rights of non-terrorists, too.
In fact, under this law, the ONLY Canadians who will be completely safe from losing their citizenship are the ones who have been born in Canada and who do not have a dual nationality (and who aren’t eligible to even apply for a second nationality). It means that no matter the crime, these “first-class” citizens will never have their citizenship revoked.
Earlier this month, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association said: “Canadians with another nationality (and those who are eligible to obtain another nationality) now have second-class status.”
Broad Grounds for Revocation
According to the Canadian Bar Association: “The proposed grounds for revoking citizenship are broad. The rationale for the list of offences subject to revocation appears to be connected to loyalty to Canada or certain Canadian ideals. However, it is not clear why the loyalty of dual nationals should be put into question more than that of other Canadians. Once the precedent is established for banishing dual nationals, other forms of conduct may be added to the list.”
It’s also interesting to note that Bill C-24 has removed the right to a Federal Court hearing for individuals who are subjected to revocation of their citizenship – except in a very limited set of circumstances. In most cases, the decision will be made by the Minister without the need of a formal hearing.
The CBA Section believes that for a matter as serious as the revocation of citizenship, a formal hearing before an independent and impartial decision-maker must be maintained.
The Right of Appeal has also been eliminated.
A More Efficient Process
If you’re curious about how Strengthening Canadian Citizenship revocation of citizenship works, the government has created an infographic to better demonstrate the new streamlined process. You can see it below:
Source: Government of Canada
As you can see, this new process expedites the revocation of citizenship for individuals, making it less costly and far more efficient.
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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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