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New Legislation to Restore Citizenship Rights for "Lost Canadians"

New Legislation to Restore Citizenship Rights for "Lost Canadians"
New Legislation to Restore Citizenship Rights for "Lost Canadians"

The Government of Canada has finally taken a significant step to ensure that Canadian citizenship is more inclusive and accessible for families living abroad.

In a move that will bring relief to many, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, has introduced new legislation on May 23, 2024 to expand citizenship by descent beyond the first generation for Canadians borne outside Canada and to restore citizenship rights for "Lost Canadians". 🎉


Why This Matters to "Lost Candians"🧐

Canadian citizenship is highly cherished worldwide, offering numerous rights and privileges, including the ability to vote, run for political office, and hold a Canadian passport.

However, due to changes made in 2009, the Citizenship Act limited citizenship by descent to the first generation. This meant that Canadian citizens born outside Canada couldn't pass on their citizenship to their children if those children were also born abroad. This has led to many children, known as "Lost Canadians," being excluded from obtaining Canadian citizenship.


New Legislation to Restore Citizenship Rights to Lost Canadians

The proposed Bill C-71, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (2024), aims to correct this by:


Automatically Conferring Citizenship 👶

Individuals born abroad to Canadian parents who were also born abroad will now automatically gain Canadian citizenship.


Extended Access 🌐 

Children born abroad and adopted by Canadian parents beyond the first generation will also be eligible for citizenship.


Restoring Citizenship Rights 🔄 

The bill will restore citizenship to individuals who lost or never acquired it due to previous outdated provisions.

This inclusive approach ensures that Canadian families abroad can maintain their strong connection to Canada, regardless of where their children are born.


Key Requirements ✅

For future generations, parents born abroad who wish to pass on citizenship to their children born or adopted abroad must have spent at least 1,095 cumulative days (approximately three years) physically present in Canada before the child's birth or adoption.

This requirement ensures a genuine connection to Canada while recognizing the global mobility of Canadian citizens.


Impact on Families 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦

The changes proposed in Bill C-71 will have a profound impact on families, allowing them to plan their lives without the fear of their children being excluded from Canadian citizenship. This includes decisions on where to live, work, and study, and even where to raise their families.


What’s Next for "Lost Canadians"? 📅

If the bill passes through Parliament and receives royal assent, the government will work swiftly to implement these changes.

Further information will be provided to eligible individuals via the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.


“The current rules generally restrict citizenship by descent to the first generation, excluding some people who have a genuine connection to Canada. This has unacceptable consequences for families and impacts life choices. These changes aim to be inclusive and protect the value of Canadian citizenship, as we are committed to making the citizenship process as fair and transparent as possible,” Minister Marc Miller.


Quick Facts 📊

Historical Context 📜

Some individuals lost citizenship at the age of 28 under former provisions.


Previous Changes 🔙 

Legislative changes in 2009 and 2015 restored citizenship to many "Lost Canadians."


Recent Ruling ⚖️ 

On December 19, 2023, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice declared the first-generation limit unconstitutional.



🛂 Stay Informed, Stay Prepared


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