On the 25th of February 2016, Canadian Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship John McCallum introduced an alteration to the citizenship Act. This legislative amendment is set out to provide greater flexibility for potential applicants trying to meet the requirements for citizenship and it is also said to produce faster results.
According to McCallum: “The Government is keeping its commitment to repeal certain provisions of the Citizenship Act, including those that led to different treatment for dual citizens. Canadian citizens are equal under the law. Whether they were born in Canada or were naturalized in Canada or hold a dual citizenship.”
One of the changes included that the Bill: An Act to Amend the Citizenship Act, would annul provisions that permit citizenship be denied from dual citizens who participate in specific acts against the national interest – All Canadians who carry out wrongdoing ought to be confronted for their crimes through the Canadian justice system.
The ability to revoke citizenship obtained by false representation, fraud or by knowingly concealing material circumstances will remain in place. The Minister would continue to exercise authority to revoke citizenship in basic fraud cases, such as identity and residence fraud which make up the majority of cases and the Federal Court would continue to have authority to revoke citizenship in cases where the fraud is in relation to concealing serious inadmissibilities concerning security, human or international rights violations, war crimes, and organized criminality.
The Bill also proposed to minimize the amount of time permanent residents have to be in Canada in order to qualify for citizenship by a full year. This means that the immigrant is required to spend three years (1095 days) within the five years before applying for citizenship where currently it stands for four years (1,460 days) within the six years immediately before applying for citizenship.
In this way, the bill recognizes that immigrants frequently build a connection to Canada before getting to be permanent residents, so the proposed enactment would credit candidates for the time spent in Canada as temporary residents or protected persons.
In addition to this, the age range to meet French or English language requirement and pass a knowledge test to fit the bill for citizenship, would change from 14-64 to change to 18-54. These changes in turn, support the Canadian government’s goal of overcoming barriers for immigrants to build successful lives in Canada.