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Canada Makes Extensive Reforms To The Citizenship Act

08 Feb 2014


Immigration News

The first extensive reforms to the Canadian ‘Citizenship Act’ since 1977, has been unveiled by Chris Alexander, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). While constructing a swifter and more productive Canadian Citizenship process for individuals who are applying for it, the ‘Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act’, Bill C-24, will safeguard the value of Canadian citizenship for people who already possess it.

Blueprint for Citizenship Improvements

By lowering the process of selection from 3 steps to 1, this crucial legislation will streamline the citizenship program of Canada. It is anticipated that this change will bring down the average time for processing citizenship applications to less than a year by 2015-2016. It is also predicted that by 2015-2016, the present backlog will be brought down by over 80%. There will also be a better alignment of the Citizenship application fees with the real cost of processing, which will relieve the burden on the taxpayers of Canada.

Reinforcing the Value of Canadian Citizenship

The Canadian government will also make sure that the Canadian citizenship applicants are maintaining strong ties to Canada. The Citizenship Act also gives a clearer explanation that the qualification of ‘residence’ period for Canadian citizenship in fact needs a physical presence in Canada. To establish that new citizens of Canada are better prepared to completely participate in Canadian society, meeting language requirements and passing a knowledge test will be necessary for more applicants. Also, people with strong Canadian ties will benefit from the new provisions. For example, Canadian Citizenship will automatically be extended to more ‘Lost Canadians’ born before 1947, along with their first generation children born outside Canada.

Cracking Down on Citizenship Fraud

Stronger penalties for misrepresentation and fraud (five years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $100,000) are included in this legislation. Also, the program integrity will be improved by including overseas criminality as another ground to deny a Canadian Citizenship application.

Protecting and Promoting Values and Interests of Canada

Finally, according to this legislation, Canada is brought in line with most of its peers by administering that dual nationals who take up arms against Canada or who are convicted of spying offences (depending on the sentence received), high treason and terrorism, will have their Canadian Citizenship revoked. If a Canadian Permanent Resident commits these acts, (s)he will be prohibited from applying for Canadian Citizenship.

Canadian Permanent Residents who are members of the Canadian Armed forces will be recognized for their important contributions by having faster access to Canadian Citizenship.


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