X
HELP US MAKE SENSE OF OUR COMPLEX WORLD
The Canadian Global Affairs Institute provides credible, open access expertise on global affairs. With your support, we can continue to spark impassioned nation-wide discussions designed to help Canadians better understand their role in the international arena.
S U P P O R T   U S
SUPPORT US

In The Media

Federal government passes law to end 'second-class citizenship'

by Nicholas Keung (feat. Andrew Griffith)

Toronto Star
June 22, 2017

Ottawa has passed citizenship changes that critics say strike the right balance between removing barriers for immigrants to become full Canadians and protecting the integrity of the system.

The changes are not a complete overhaul of the stringent citizenship regimen established by the Conservative government in 2014, though they relax the age requirement for language and knowledge tests, and the length of residency requirement.

While citizenship officers will keep their powers to strip citizenship from new Canadians in cases of fraud and misrepresentation, and individuals convicted of crimes will be barred from being granted citizenship, the Federal Court, instead of the immigration minister, will be the decision-maker in all revocation cases.

The Liberals also immediately repealed a law put in place their Tory predecessor that gave Ottawa the power to strip citizenship from naturalized citizens for crimes committed after citizenship has already been granted — something critics said created two distinct classes of citizens, those born here and abroad.

“We are thrilled that after more than three years of fighting, multiple lawsuits, and over a year of wrangling in Parliament, second-class citizenship has been put to an end,” said Josh Paterson of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association. “The government has followed through on its promise to restore citizenship equality for all Canadians.”

The Senate was responsible for bringing two significant changes to Bill C-6 by forcing the Liberal government to hand over citizenship revocation decisions to the Federal Court — a change that is expected to take effect in early 2018 — and allow minors to independently apply for citizenship.

“Citizenship is one of the most powerful indicators of inclusion and belonging. When we facilitate citizenship for newcomers and protect the fundamental equality among all citizens by birth or naturalization, we are nation-building,” said Sen. Ratna Omidvar, independent senator from Ontario and the Senate sponsor of the bill.

“This is a significant law for all Canadians and for Canadians-in-the-making.”

As of today, citizenship applicants are also no longer required to sign a form stating they intend to remain in Canada after obtaining their citizenship.

Changes that will take effect this fall include: reducing the residency requirement to three out of five years from four out of six; shrinking the age group that must meet language and knowledge requirements to 18-54 years from 14-64 years; allowing refugees, foreign students and workers to count their temporary residence in Canada toward their citizenship residency obligation.

Andrew Griffith, retired director general of the Immigration Department, said the changes are long overdue and should have been passed last year if the opposition parties had not dragged the debate on.

“It’s good that the bill is through,” Griffith told the Star. “It delivered the Liberal government’s campaign commitment to facilitate citizenship, that a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian. It has shifted the overall balance somewhat to facilitate (access to) citizenship.”

However, Griffith was disappointed that Ottawa has chosen not to deal with the exorbitant citizenship application fees — $630 for adults and $100 for minors — that some said have prevented eligible applicants, especially refugees, from becoming full-fledged Canadians.

“The issue that remains for me is the fee,” said Griffith. “If the government really believed in diversity and inclusion, they should ensure it is not an insurmountable financial barrier for people to become citizens.”


Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTERS
 
SEARCH
EXPERTS IN THE MEDIA

Is UN Peacekeeping Losing its Appeal?

by Jay Heisler (feat. Tim Dunne), Voice of America, July 22, 2021

Privatizing Forests; Right-Wing Extremism; Vaccine Passports; Crypto Sustainability

by Ryan Jespersen (feat. Aden Dur-e-Aden), Real Talk Ryan Jespersen, July 21, 2021

Why the Canadian Forces need big iron

by David Reevely (feat. David Perry and Ron Lloyd), The Logic, July 21, 2021

U.S. not rushing to ease travel restrictions at Canadian border

by James McCarten (feat. Laurie Trautman), National Observer, July 21, 2021

The Road to 100% zero-emission vehicles by 2035

by Larysa Harapyn (feat. Brian Kingston), Financial Post, July 20, 2021

Canada to Reopen Border with US to Fully Vaccinated Travelers

by Craig McCulloch (feat. Laurie Trautman), Voice of America, July 20, 2021

Country-of-origin labelling discussion re-emerges in U.S.

by Jennifer Blair (feat. Fawn Jackson), Canadian Cattlemen, July 20, 2021

Invited but Not Let In: Canada Places Thousands of Lives on Hold

by Reedah Hayder (feat. Andrew Griffith), Toronto Star, July 15, 2021


LATEST TWEETS

HEAD OFFICE
Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Suite 1800, 150–9th Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2P 3H9

 

OTTAWA OFFICE
Canadian Global Affairs Institute
8 York Street, 2nd Floor
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1N 5S6

 

Phone: (613) 288-2529
Email: [email protected]
Web: cgai.ca

 

Making sense of our complex world.
Déchiffrer la complexité de notre monde.

 

© 2002-2021 Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Charitable Registration No. 87982 7913 RR0001

 


Sign in with Facebook | Sign in with Twitter | Sign in with Email