Changes to Canada’s citizenship laws are now in effect that give individuals facing the possible revocation of their citizenship new rights.
As of February 5, 2018, any individual who is facing the possible revocation of their Canadian citizenship now has the choice to have their case heard and decided by the Federal Court, or to request that Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship decide.
“This improves the fairness of the process by allowing all individuals to choose to have their case decided by the Federal Court, an independent judicial body,” Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, said in a news release.
“By continuing to build and improve this process, we are able to maintain the fairness and integrity of our program and uphold the value of Canadian citizenship.”
The changes also create an additional step in the revocation process whereby IRCC officials review case submissions and decide whether or not to proceed with revocation before it is referred to the Federal Court for a decision.
Individuals who ask the Minister to decide also now have the opportunity to seek leave to ask the Federal Court to review the Minister’s decision.
The changes are part of Bill C-6, which received Royal Assent in June 2017. Bill C-6 introduced a series of amendments to Canada’s citizenship laws and repealed a number of provisions introduced by the previous Conservative government in 2015.
Under those prior provisions, the Minister was the decision maker for cases of residence fraud, concealed criminality and identity fraud. The Federal Court was the decision maker only for cases of fraud relating to organized criminality, security, and human and international rights violations.
A number of amendments under Bill C-6 have already been implemented, including the following changes to the criteria for obtaining Canadian citizenship:
- Applicants must be physically present in Canada for three out of the last five years (1,095 days), with no minimum number of days per year, before applying for citizenship.
- Applicants may count each day they were physically present in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person, before becoming a permanent resident, as a half-day toward meeting the physical presence requirement for citizenship, up to a maximum credit of 365 days, within five years preceding the date of application.
- Applicants between 18 and 54 years must meet the language and knowledge requirements for citizenship. Previously, the age range was 14 to 64.