Canadian Government Considers Removing ‘Citizenship by Birth’

(Below is a transcription of this video)

Hi. This is Michael Niren, immigration lawyer and founder of A released document has been circulated indicating that the Minister of Immigration, Chris Alexander, is thinking about canceling the birth citizenship laws that exist in this country. Essentially, if you are born in Canada, you are conferred Canadian citizenship and that includes children from parents who are foreign nationals or who are visitors to Canada.

Proposed ‘Citizenship by Birth’ Changes

So the concern is that if you are a foreign national and you come to Canada and the mother gives birth to that child in Canada, that child will automatically be given citizenship. This has been a longstanding law in Canada, it exists today, and the proposal is to cancel that. I think this is a real concern. We live in an open and democratic society and it is my belief that birth citizenship is a part of that. We live in an aging demographic. We have an aging demographic where Canada will be in desperate need for people, for immigrants, for individuals to come to Canada to ultimately contribute to the labor market force.

‘Citizenship by Birth’ Changes May Be a Bad Idea

The percentage of these birth citizenship cases compared to the annual birth rate is miniscule, so it really a non-issue in terms of statistics. However, I believe that the government is ideologically driven and they have a very isolationist approach and it’s the wrong way because we are moving into a global economy. Instead of closing the doors to citizenship we should be opening them. I would imagine that babies born whether or not they are born from Canadians or born from foreign nationals, ultimately grow up here, they go to school here, and they contribute to the social and economic life of Canada. So we want young people, we want children to grow up here as opposed to trying to close the doors.

So I think that the government’s approach is completely the wrong approach and it’s in keeping with their, what I would consider, a closed-door immigration policy. So let’s hope this secret document, this proposal, does not come to fruition and there is enough of an outcry to prevent the government from following through on this latest threat to our citizenship laws. Thank you and have a great day.

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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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