Bill C-6, an act amending Canada’s Citizenship Act, has finally received Royal Assent and is now law, benefiting many thousands of immigrants to Canada and their families. Under the new legislation, permanent residents of Canada may apply for citizenship sooner than previously.
However, it should be noted that some of the measures contained in the legislation will not come into force until later this year or early 2018, while some measures came into force immediately.
Changes that take effect immediately (June 19, 2017)
Outlined below are the changes that came into effect on June 19.
Previous act: Citizenship could be revoked from dual citizens convicted of treason, spying and terrorism offenses, depending on the sentence received, or who were a part of an armed force of a country or organized group engaged in conflict with Canada.
New Act: This provision is repealed. Dual citizens living in Canada who are convicted of these crimes will face the Canadian justice system, like other Canadian citizens who break the law.
Previous act: Applicants were required to intend to continue to live in Canada if granted citizenship.
New Act: This provision is repealed. Applicants are no longer required to intend to continue to live in Canada once granted citizenship. This provides more flexibility to Canadians who may need to live outside of Canada for work or personal reasons.
Previous Act: The Minister had the discretion to waive certain requirements under subsection 5(1) of the Citizenship Act so a minor could obtain citizenship without a Canadian parent.
New Act: Minors can now apply for citizenship without a Canadian parent, as the age requirement for citizenship has been removed under subsection 5(1). A person having custody of the minor or empowered to act on their behalf by court order, written agreement or operation of law, can now apply for citizenship on behalf of the minor unless that requirement is waived by the Minister.
Changes expected to take effect in early (2018)
Outlined below are measures contained in the new act that the government expects to take effect in early 2018.
Previous Act: The Minister was the decision-maker for most cases of citizenship revocation on the grounds of false representation, fraud, or knowingly concealing material circumstances. The Federal Court was the decision-maker for citizenship revocation cases involving false representation, fraud, or knowingly concealing material circumstances related to security, human or international right violations, and organized criminality.
New Act: The Federal Court is the decision-maker in all revocation cases unless the individual requests that the Minister make the decision.
Previous Act: There was no clear authority for Citizenship Officers to seize fraudulent or suspected fraudulent documents provided under the Citizenship Act.
New Act: Clear authority for Citizenship Officers to seize fraudulent or suspected fraudulent documents is provided under the Citizenship Act.
To find out if you are eligible to immigrate to Canada through one of the currently available programs, please fill out a free online assessment today.