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Liberals Announce Change to Citizenship Act


During his election campaign, Prime Minister Trudeau and the Liberal party campaigned on repealing certain measures under the new Citizenship Act Bill C-24 that was brought in by the Conservative government in 2015. Their promise is now coming to fruition.

On February 25, 2016, Immigration Minister John McCallum announced that the federal government will be repealing certain areas of the Citizenship Act Bill C-24; namely the revocation of citizenship for Canadians convicted of terrorism, and the residency and language requirements.

Under the Conservative government, the Citizenship Act allowed the government to revoke the citizenship of Canadians who were found guilty of terrorism, treason or spying offences. McCallum has announced that “[i]t will still be possible to revoke citizenship, as it always has been, for those who misrepresent who they are or who are guilty of citizenship fraud” but that dealing with situations of terrorism or treason will now be handled by the criminal justice system of Canada, and will not result in the revocation of citizenship.

Other notable changes to be aware of include a change to the applicant’s Residency Time (or the amount of time applicants must have been physically present in Canada before applying). Applicants will have to reside in Canada for three out of the previous five years before applying (previously four out of six). Permanent Residents will also be able to use time spent as a non-permanent resident towards meeting the residency requirements, for up to one year of the three-year requirement. Time spent as a temporary resident can be counted as a half day. Only applicants who are between the ages of 18 to 54 are now subject to writing the language test (previously any applicants between the ages of 14 to 64 were subject); and lastly, the citizenship guide will be re-written and updated to assist those studying to become a new Canadian with their study efforts, a joint effort to be undertaken by McCallum and Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly. For more details, CIC’s Backgrounder can be found here.

Interested in finding out more about these changes and how they may affect you? Interested in our help with a citizenship application? Please email us.

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