Changes to the Canadian Citizenship Act News
Bill C-24 which has recently came into effect has made several provisions to make Canada a safer place by enacting a law that would strip individuals who entered Canada without detection of their past criminal activity. Under the new Canadian citizenship Act, the government can revoke citizenship of dual citizens who are convicted of terrorism, high treason and several other serious offences even if they were committed overseas.
On June 19, 2014, the new citizenship Act got approval in both houses of Parliament in identical form and become part of the law of Canada. The new revocation provision has been implemented on May 29. The following conditions may call for a revocation of citizenship:
- If the person was found guilty of a terrorism offence or an equivalent foreign terrorism conviction and sentenced to five years of imprisonment or more
- If the person has obtained citizenship by false representation of his/her documents
- If the person convicted of treason and spying and sentenced to be to imprisonment for life
- In addition to the above-listed cases, the person has worked a member of an armed force or organized armed group engaged in an armed conflict with Canada.
What about the revocation process?
The new legislation includes major changes to the citizenship application and approval process. According to new bill, instead of a Federal Court judge, the citizenship and immigration minister (or a delegate) will decide the majority of revocation cases. However, the Federal Court will decide the more complex revocation cases such as cases related to war crimes and crimes against humanity, international rights violations and organized criminality along with other fraud cases.
The most problematic aspect about this law is part of law that says even if you were born and raised in Canada you will be deported to your parents country of origin if you meets any of above mentioned conditions.
What else in the Act?
There are few more changes have also come into force to support the implementation of the new revocation grounds.
- The individuals whose citizenship is revoked under existing fraud grounds are barred from obtaining citizenship for 10 years. Earlier, this period was five years.
- Individuals whose citizenship is revoked under the new grounds are prohibited to take citizenship.
- Individuals who directly or indirectly misrepresent the information in any manner when applying for entry into Canada. The purpose of the misrepresentation provisions is to ensure that applicants provide complete, honest and truthful information in every manner.
The new Regulations makes Canada a safer place for its Citizens from Criminals who may have inadvertently slipped through the system,
August Editorial ….. The New Law
Changes to the Citizenship Act the Old and the New
|The old residency requirements require you to be:Living in Canada for 3 out of 4 years (1,095 days)
No requirement that you be physically present, & you can also count time spent as a non-permanent resident toward residence for citizenship E.g: A student may include period of study as time
Do not need to prove that you “intend to reside” in Canada.
|The new residency requirements require you to be:Living in Canada for 4 years (1,460 days) out of 6 years for citizenship eligibility;
Physically present in Canada for 183 days (minimum) per year in 4 out of 6 years. & Also
Cannot count time spent as a non-permanent resident (non-PR) toward residence for citizenship;
Must prove that you “intend to reside” in Canada.
|Citizenship applicants ages 18–54:Must meet language requirements and pass knowledge test; upper age limit of 54 currently established by policy, not in legislation;
May use an interpreter to meet the knowledge requirement.
|Citizenship applicants ages 14-64Must meet language requirements, and pass the citizenship test;
Must meet knowledge requirement in English or French (no interpreter).
|“Lost Canadians” are people who were not granted citizenship due to changes in the law. If you are a lost Canadian, you may or may not have had your citizenship restored in 2009.||If you are a Lost Canadian born before 1947, you and your 1st generation children born abroad will be granted Canadian citizenship.|
|If you are an immigration consultant:You are not required to be registered or regulated in order to represent people in citizenship matters;
There are hardly any penalties to deter you from fraud and tools to ensure the integrity of your programs;
Fines and penalties for fraud are a maximum of $1,000 and/or one year in prison.
|If you are an immigration consultant, the amended Act:Defines who is an authorized representative
Develops regulations to designate a regulatory body (ICCRC)
Can refuse your applicant for fraud;
Sets fines and penalties for fraud at a maximum of $100,000 and/or five years in prison.
|The Governor in Council (GIC) makes the final decision to grant citizenship on a discretionary basis.||The Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) Minister can decide to grant citizenship on a discretionary basis.|
|The Act does not define what a complete citizenship application is.||The New Act defines what a complete citizenship application is and also what evidence you must provide when applying.|
|There is a multi-stage (3 step) decision-making process to decide on whether to accept your citizenship application.||There is a single step decision-making process to decide on whether to accept your citizenship application.|
|You are not required to file Canadian income taxes to be eligible for citizenship.||You are not required to file Canadian income taxes to be eligible for citizenship.|
|If you have domestic criminal charges and convictions, you cannot get Canadian citizenship.||If you have domestic and/or foreign criminal charges and convictions you cannot get Canadian citizenship.|
|The Governor in Council (GIC) makes the final decision about whether to revoke your citizenship.||The Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) Minister can revoke your citizenship, if it is a routine case.The Federal Court decides whether to revoke your citizenship, if it is a complex case (e.g. war crimes, crimes against humanity, security, other human or international rights violations, and organized criminality).|
|You cannot have your citizenship revoked for acts against Canada’s national interest.||Your citizenship can be revoked or denied it you are:A dual citizen, or a PR in Canada; AND,
A member of an armed force or an organized armed group engaged in armed conflict with Canada; AND/OR,
Convicted of terrorism, high treason, treason, or spying offences, depending on the sentence received.
|If you are a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, there is no fast-track citizenship process for you to apply for.||If you are a PR serving with, or on exchange with, the Canadian Armed Forces, you can apply for citizenship under a fast-track process.If you were a member of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) or a foreign military member who is/was attached or seconded to the CAF, you can apply for citizenship under a fast-track citizenship process.|