Changes to Canadian Citizenship

In April of 2009 a new law came into effect that not many people know about, but may affect your descendants if you live outside of Canada. It limits Canadian citizenship to one generation outside of Canada.

What does that mean? It means that if you are a Canadian citizen and have a child outside of Canada, that child will be Canadian, as before. But if your son or daughter then has a child outside of Canada with a non-Canadian, that child (your grandchild) will not be granted citizenship.

When the bill was proposed, its claimed purpose was to curb terrorism (as someone could go to Canada, get citizenship, then move back to their country and pass citizenship on though the generations – those people would enjoy all the freedom of movement that any other Canadian has) and, similarly, limit the cost on the government to evacuate Canadians from danger zones (remember the sudden appearance of 30,000 Canadians in Lebanon in 2006 that requested to be evacuated?)

Fair enough, but what the bill didn’t really consider were the number of Canadians who legitimately live abroad for a certain amount of time, and who may have children who follow in their footsteps.

Of course, by the time this really becomes an issue (say 20 or 30 years out) the law may be amended. Until it is, and if you have a child outside of Canada, just be sure to make them aware of everything in the future.

Edit – I had initially assumed that this amendment to Canadian citizenship would be effective from the date signed, but that was only half correct. Those born before April 2009 would not be affected, yes. But what was unclear is that the rule would be backdated for the parents. So the issue is not 20 or 30 years out, as I originally said, but causing problems now, as this article about a Canadian man born to Canadian parents in Scotland shows. He is now a teacher in Peru, and could not pass citizenship onto his son who was born after the April 2009 deadline.  

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One response to “Changes to Canadian Citizenship

  1. Pingback: The Salt Shaker: Canadian Citizenship and Japanese Lunchbreaks | In Search of Salt

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