Lost Canadian Citizens

The Vancouver Observer recently posted an interesting article on Lost Canadians – Canadian citizens who lost their citizenship in because of old provisions in the Canadian Citizenship Act.

With the passing of amendments to the Canadian Citizenship Act, some gained citizenship. One example of these formerly lost Canadians includes children of Canadian parents who were born abroad and didn’t register.

Others, such as one man mentioned in this CBC article had their citizenship taken away when their Canadian parents became American citizens.

But the passing of the law was also bad news for others – for example, Canadian citizenship is no longer automatic for a second-generation. This means that if Canadian parents have a child abroad, that child is automatically a Canadian citizen. But if that child has children born abroad, they will not be.

These rules create a generation of “lost Canadians”, a problem that the government needs to begin recognizing.

There are an estimated 750,000 Lost Canadians living in Canada, and those who file for Canadian citizenship are encountering problems. One woman, born to a Canadian father and British mother who were unmarried after WWII, has repeatedly applied for Canadian Citizenship after it was stripped despite living as a Canadian citizen for over 30 years. Before 1977, Canadian citizenship was passed through the mother if the couple was unmarried. Her parents married two years later, but her citizenship is still in question.

The full series on Lost Canadians is available here.


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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