Big Changes to Canada’s Citizenship Act


Big Changes to Canada’s Citizenship Act

On June 19, 2017 the Canadian government passed Bill C-6 marking some significant changes to the Citizenship Act. Many of the changes aim to make the path to citizenship quicker and easier for immigrants.

The legislation is also designed to ensure that a two-tiered system of citizenship is not present in Canada—an election promise made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the 2015 federal election.

Though the law came into effect on June 19, not every piece of the legislation will come into effect immediately.

Here are some of the highlights:

Changes that take effect immediately

Previous act: Citizenship could be revoked from dual citizens convicted of spying, treason, and terrorism offences or who were part of an armed force of a country or organized group in active conflict with Canada.

New act: Citizenship can no longer be revoked. Dual citizens living in Canada who are convicted of these crimes will face the Canadian justice system just like any other citizen.

Previous act: Applicants were required to have intentions to continue to live in Canada if they received citizenship.

New act: Applicants are no longer required to have intentions to continue to live in Canada after receiving citizenship.

Changes that will take effect later in 2017

Previous act: Applicants had to be physically present in Canada for 1,460 days (four years) out of six years before applying for citizenship.

New act: Applicants must be physically present in Canada for 1,095 days (three years) out of five years before applying for citizenship.

Previous act: Applicants between 14-64 years of age had to meet certain language and knowledge requirements for citizenship.

New act: Applicants between 18-54 years of age must meet certain language and knowledge requirements for citizenship.

Changes that will take effect in 2018

Previous act: There are no clear authority for citizenship officers to seize documents that were fraudulent (or thought to be) provided under the Citizenship Act.

New act: Clear authority has been established for citizenship officers to seize documents that are fraudulent (or thought to be).