Changes to Canadian Citizenship Act Continue to Have Repercussions on Canadians Born Abroad
Changes made to the Canadian Citizenship Act in 2009 mean that children born to or adopted by Canadians who were born abroad are not automatically Canadian citizens if they too were born abroad.
This means that while one person born to Canadian citizens outside of Canada is automatically a Canadian citizen, their children, should they be born outside of Canada, will not be.
Previously, generation upon generation of children could be counted as Canadian citizens even if born abroad, which led the government to call them “Canadians of convenience” – Canadians who don’t live in Canada but retain citizenship and pass it to their children while living outside of Canada.
The new restrictions on the Canadian Citizenship Act have led to significant difficulties and confusion to Canadian citizens.
How the Canadian Citizenship Act is Affecting Families
This Ottawa Citizen article tells the story of Sarah Currie and her husband (who cannot be named in the article) who were born abroad to Canadian military parents. Both are Canadian citizens, but because they are first-generation born abroad Canadian citizens, the child they adopt from Haiti cannot be. They can sponsor him as a permanent resident to Canada, but that’s not what Sarah was told initially. In addition, he keeps getting the runaround from the government on when her application will be processed.
In addition, her own father was posted overseas – not living there by choice, which is a consideration that’s not really discussed in the amendments. The amendments to the Act also create two different types of Canadian citizens – ones that can give their children citizenship and ones who cannot.
What You Need to Know About the Canadian Citizenship Act
According to Scarborough-Agincourt MP Jim Karygiannis, who is trying to get answers on behalf of Sarah, “Oh yeah, you’re a Canadian. You can go abroad and give up your life for Canada. We’ll put you in harm’s way. But we won’t (give your child Canadian citizenship).”
If you are a Canadian born abroad, problems may arise when your children apply for Canadian Citizenship, as they would no longer be considered Canadian Citizens by extension. Do you need help understanding how the Canadian Citizenship Act affects you or your family? Contact us today or book a consultation online to get help now!
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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