Nine Things You Need to Know About the Changes to Canadian Citizenship

At the beginning of June, the very nature of Canadian citizenship was altered as a major portion of Bill C-24 went into effect, officially creating a two-tier citizenship system. As a result of this new law, dual citizens and people who have immigrated to Canada can have their citizenship taken away while other Canadians cannot.

Many people have reached out with questions about what that means. Here is a list of frequently asked questions to help.

1. Who will be affected by the changes to Canadian citizenship?
Anyone who holds or is eligible for another citizenship could be vulnerable to the citizenship stripping provisions of Bill C-24 if they commit the offences or prohibited conduct referred to in the Bill. This legislation has the potential to capture lots of people, and once we allow for citizenship revocation for some, it won’t take much to further pry that door open wider in the future to allow revocation on additional grounds.

We have the benefit of a modern judicial process that includes prosecution, trial before an independent judge and, in the event of conviction, a just punishment that achieves the goals of deterrence, retribution, denunciation and rehabilitation. We do not need to throw Canada back to the dark ages and revive the medieval practice of banishment as a way of punishing people. And once we make it lawful to exile some people, what’s to stop it being used against others in the future? Misinformation is being used to justify these changes; you can read a breakdown of these myths and inaccuracies here. There are certain misinformation that are given to justify changes.


2. Why will this turn dual citizens into ‘second class’ citizens?

This law says that some Canadians, who have no other citizenship and no eligibility for citizenship anywhere else, are Canadians forever. Other Canadians, including dual citizens – who have Canadian citizenship and the citizenship of another country at the same time – could possibly have their citizenship taken away, even if they were born in Canada. Even if the government never takes their citizenship away, the fact is that their citizenship is no longer secure and permanent. It’s been said that citizenship is “the right to have rights”. For those whose citizenship is now insecure, their rights as Canadians are also insecure.

3. Why does the law only apply to dual citizens and those people who are eligible to obtain another citizenship?
Under international law, it’s illegal for a country to take someone’s citizenship away from them if that would leave them “stateless”, meaning that they have no citizenship – or access to citizenship – in any country. So Bill C-24’s citizenship revocation provisions apply to dual citizens, because taking their Canadian citizenship away would still leave them with another country of citizenship.

Citizenship can only be revoked if you meet certain criteria in Bill C-24, like being convicted of one of the list of crimes that make citizenship stripping possible, or if you are suspected of one of the activities that make you eligible for citizenship stripping such as participating in armed conflict against Canada. Regardless, dual citizens now have weaker rights of citizenship simply because it is possible to take their citizenship away.

4. Under what conditions the Canadian Citizenship can be revoked?
*** (Not in the original article. Added by TopTipsClub)
Bill C-24 lists certain criteria for revoking Citizenship, like being convicted of or are suspected of involved in activities that endanger Canada and its interests. Examples can be taking part in armed offence against Canada or supporting/providing help in such offence. Regardless, dual citizens now have weaker rights of citizenship simply because it is possible to take their citizenship away.
Legal experts say that there is no stopping the government on adding more crimes to this list in future as the law has already been passed and it is only a matter of updating it.

5. Does this really apply to Canadians who don’t have another citizenship, but could be eligible for another citizenship?

Under international law, Canada can’t take away someone’s citizenship if it would leave them stateless, meaning that they have no citizenship – or access to citizenship – in any country. But Canadians, even those born in Canada, who are eligible to acquire the citizenship of another country could be vulnerable to C-24’s citizenship stripping provisions. They may never have set foot in the other country, or even be aware that they are eligible for citizenship in another country. However, they can be subject to citizenship stripping because it is arguable that they can obtain another citizenship. This is especially problematic because eligibility for another citizenship is not the same as having another citizenship. Just because you are eligible to apply does not mean that the other country will give it to you. But for the purpose of C-24, just being eligible for another citizenship is enough. So in fact, someone in this situation who had their Canadian citizenship stripped could wind up not having citizenship anywhere.

Citizenship can only be revoked if you meet certain criteria in Bill C-24, like being convicted of one of the list of crimes that make citizenship stripping possible, or if you are suspected of one of the activities that make you eligible for citizenship stripping such as participating in armed conflict against Canada. Regardless, Canadians who are eligible to obtain the citizenship of another country now have weaker rights of citizenship simply because it is possible to take their citizenship away.

6. What about new or naturalized Canadians who end up living outside Canada?

The ‘intent to reside in Canada’ provisions would make new Canadians vulnerable to citizenship stripping if, after they become citizens, they move abroad for some reason. From now on, new Canadians will have to promise that they intend to reside in Canada as a pre-condition of obtaining citizenship, and failing to reside in Canada after citizenship is granted could mean that the government will consider you to have lied in your application for citizenship. Misrepresentation is a ground for nullifying citizenship. So a new Canadian who moves to another country to be with a dying relative, to live with their children, or to pursue a business, academic, or other employment opportunity could be at risk.

7. If I don’t break the law, this won’t affect me, right?
Citizenship stripping will only be triggered in a narrow range of circumstances. But regardless of your behaviour, if you are a dual citizen or a Canadian who is eligible for citizenship in another country, you now have weaker citizenship rights than other Canadians. Others have a permanent right of citizenship in Canada, no matter what. That is no longer true for you. Even if the government never moves to take your citizenship away – and it won’t try to do this to most people – you have a second-class of Canadian citizenship that is not as strong as others. This changes what it means to be Canadian – it gives some of us different rights than others, just because of our background. In this way, C-24 affects us all.

The new provisions allow officials to take away a person’s citizenship based on serious criminal convictions in Canada, such as terrorism offences. But it doesn’t stop there. Citizenship can also be stripped for criminal convictions for similar offences that occur outside of Canada, regardless whether the regime or judicial system under which the person was convicted is undemocratic or lacks the rule of law. So for example Bill C-24 could be used to strip the citizenship of a journalist who is convicted of a “terrorism offence” without a fair court process in another country, when their “crime” was actually reporting on human rights violations by the government.

Legal experts have also warned that the list of offences that could lead to the removal of citizenship might be expanded in the future.

Citizenship should not be a licence the government can revoke for misbehaviour. We take the position that a Canadian should be a Canadian, permanently. It is the role of the criminal justice system, not elected officials or bureaucrats in the citizenship ministry, to punish people for wrongdoing. Making some people vulnerable to revocation of their citizenship devalues the very meaning of Canadian citizenship, which is something we should all be concerned about.

8. What are the next steps/what can we do?
There are many civil right associations that are challenging this Bill in court of law. If you want to, Look around and try to find one to associate with to raise your voice. BCCLA along with Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers is one of them.

9. Can you give me advice about my specific case?

Unfortunately, we cannot provide you with legal advice. For that you will have to speak with a lawyer in order to be certain about how the law will affect you personally, and to answer any questions about your current citizenship or immigration status.

More Information
If you want more information. Here is some information put together by Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers.

Here is more in depth analysis of Bill C-24 by them.

If you would rather do the reading your self then here is the link of Bill C-24 text on Parliament of Canada website.

(Article credit: Catherine Hart/ BCCLA.ORG Link for the Original Article) All the Credit goes to them

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Comments

    Maha

    (June 23, 2015 - 11:41 pm)

    NDP It is for sure. Was disappointed by Liberals too.

    Sammy

    (June 23, 2015 - 11:51 pm)

    You are right this is not inclusion, it is exclusion. I am sure none of the immigrants had this in mind when they were coming here. WOW!

    Mariam

    (June 24, 2015 - 3:50 am)

    So basically the government is discriminating based on a persons ethnic background. I was born here and my mom came here when she was 9. I don’t speak another language than English and I have never traveled back. I have no relatives anywhere but in Canada. Obviously I wouldn’t comit a crime because I’m a law abiding citizen but irrespective to that, I would think it’s my right to have a guaranteed citizenship. Being vulnerable because of where my parents immigrated from isn’t fair and goes against a persons charter rights because the government is determining who gets what kind of citizenship based on ones background.

      jessica

      (July 27, 2015 - 6:26 am)

      Ms. Mariam the government is not discriminating anyone. It is fully stated that even if you are Canadian born and can acquire citizenship in any other country your citizenship could be revoked only if your situation fall under any written circumstances of Bill C-24. However, if you and your family did do anything wrong to disobey the law, then I believe you that you have nothing to worry.

    Rupert

    (June 24, 2015 - 8:19 am)

    This law should be applicable only to individuals who have committed criminal acts, or involved in terrorism or sympathised with terrorists organization or terrorism, involved in demonstrations in support of anti x country, just because they hate that country or their ethnicity etc.l

      Joseph

      (June 25, 2015 - 3:23 pm)

      We already have something called treason. This is unnecessary.

      R J Das

      (June 27, 2015 - 9:38 pm)

      The danger here is how u classify Terrorist. ? Tdy terrorist tmw freedom fighter. One day all West will be terrorists. That day even the British/French citizens sent back from Canada.? This is a big mistake for Canada. Must be stopped.

    vudan

    (June 24, 2015 - 2:32 pm)

    Then 99.5% of Canadians are vulnerable because non of them have roots in Canada. They all migrated from Europe in the past. So, basically there is no such as true Canadian or American, except Indians and Natives. Correct me if I’m wrong 🙂

      John

      (June 24, 2015 - 9:08 pm)

      No thats not true according to the update. It is only if your parents have citizenship from another country. So regardless of where you immigrated from, if it was your grandparents who immigrated, parents born here, then you are “safe”

        BoB

        (June 25, 2015 - 3:13 pm)

        So if you are white, you mean.I wonder if these second class citizen will get their own washrooms soon too?

        p

        (June 27, 2015 - 8:57 am)

        My grandparents were born in the UK and I am eligible to apply for ancestral citizenship based on their births; I would be considered as having another option. My son cannot.

        R J Das

        (June 27, 2015 - 9:40 pm)

        John. It wl be only First Nation wl be left here. As long as your country allows Dual Citizen U can be sent back. :))

    Marco

    (June 24, 2015 - 9:10 pm)

    i think that anyone that wants to commit a crime against the country they live in should be revoked from the right of calling themselves citizens of that country. This includes treason and terrorism against that same country. Canada accepts all cultures and welcomes everyone equally, obviously between those people there will be friction. But when they want to country to assimilate to their beliefs, this is not right!!!!

    shahid munam

    (June 25, 2015 - 3:02 am)

    to get better oporchuniti for work

    Fernando

    (June 25, 2015 - 6:05 am)

    This law should be applicable only to two kinds of crimes: Supporting or directly involved in TREASON and TERRORISM.

    Kitty

    (June 25, 2015 - 9:50 pm)

    LEARN TO WRITE before posting an article about something IMPORTANT that effects hundreds of thousands of people. Hire writers who know what they are talking about and can WRITE in English, for God’s sake.

      Bill

      (June 27, 2015 - 3:24 am)

      “effects” (sic)

    H

    (June 26, 2015 - 9:26 pm)

    About time countries do something about those sociopaths who oppose with bombs and knives the basic social contract. This is a healthy and reasonable limitation on the “ius soli” principle, the most generous approach ever taken to granting citizenships in history. This has nothing to do with ethnic origin, as some fools above stated, or at least it need not. Perhaps only in the eyes of those who look for racism and offense on every corner.

    Denise

    (June 26, 2015 - 9:51 pm)

    It is about time Canada looked at dual citizenship. Passports of convenience should not be a part of this country’s offering. Citizenship is a serious commitment. Many use it for their own interests with no real commitment to Canada.

    joseph

    (June 26, 2015 - 10:19 pm)

    for the terrorist and other offences against Canada and so on this laws where already in place this is something new its sad that once given something so precious is now on conditions and even if they are not proven ..this is new level . not want you in Canada get back Jojo sifting . more unrest problems

    Katalin

    (June 27, 2015 - 1:36 am)

    To me that is what unacceptable. “So a new Canadian who moves to another country to be with a dying relative, to live with their children, or to pursue a business, academic, or other employment opportunity could be at risk ”

    So, if my mom dying, and I go home be with her a couple of month’s, and/or my kids with me to see their grandma we can lost our citizenship.
    If one of my children have a great chance to study at Harvard or Yale, they have risk to lost citizenship
    If I open business in another country to sell some Canadian product, and I often travelling there I got risk to lost my citizenship
    If some new citizen kids will be an actor, and got a chance in Hollywood, he got a risk to lost Canadian citizenship.
    When i got old, and retirement, and i make decision like many Canadians as i want to spend the cold wintertime to Florida, then I got risk to lost my citizenship.
    ????
    I understand, and absolute accept the terrorist and other offences risk.. yes. I understand if some one pick up the citizenship, and after leave, and never come back..yes, they don’t deserve. But we have family in other country, and we miss them. And actually many Canadians work in US, and they haven’t any problem, why we do??

    R J Das

    (June 27, 2015 - 9:53 pm)

    Everything goes up have to come down . If we categorize citizens second class, they wl treat Canada the same way. To Canada to grow, we need 100% support of its citizens.

    Elaine Morrison

    (June 29, 2015 - 11:06 am)

    The funny thing is, I think it applies to the majority of Canadians! I don’t think there are many left in the “first tier” of citizenship.

    A Abbas

    (July 3, 2015 - 4:33 am)

    This is a non-canadian law..immigrants are one of the main pillar of this country, what would it expect from someone treating them second class..people will start taking benefit of the system as long as they can, keeping in mind they can never be a part of system. I agree when it comes to talks like terrarism but apart from that its a ‘lose – lose situation’ for canada whether it is economical or one ‘s sincerety with the country

    Michelle roussel

    (July 3, 2015 - 5:39 am)

    Well my parents were not born here and i was but im not scared for any of us. Follow the rules be outstanding citizens dont break laws and you will be fine. There has to be a reason this law is being put in place and those people who will be affected already know why. Just my opinion. Do the right thing and you will be fine. Dont let this frighten you if youre a person that has good morals and are law abiding citizens..

      jessica

      (July 27, 2015 - 6:36 am)

      This is so true Michelle, it’s just other people don’t think before they react. I came from another countey as well and raising my kids here. I know i don’t hold their future, but I believe they will be safe and nothing to worry about the new law that Canada pursued.

        Marion Vermeersch

        (August 18, 2015 - 6:57 pm)

        I don’t have citizenship right now, had it stripped eleven years ago and I have not committed any crime. My problem was being born in the UK) to a WWII Canadian soldier and his British War Bride and the government decided we should have ever been given the citizenship we had since 1946. We lived, worked and paid all taxes in Canada for the entire time since arrival. We may get it back under the recent legislation but, at the same time, we are relegated to the “second class” citizenship now in place. My children, born and lived all their lives in Canada, are entitled to British citizenship because of my birth there, so now they are also in the ranks of the second class. I am shocked that so many people in Canada are being downgraded by our government in this way and I don’t think that all the “stripping” to many like me after 9/11 ever protected anyone from “terrorism”. We had no court process, and now way to appeal so nothing in that respect has really changed. Surely we have a judicial process already in place which should be used for real criminal offences.

      nick

      (August 2, 2015 - 6:52 am)

      That’s not the point!…..

    Tony

    (July 4, 2015 - 12:26 pm)

    Calling on all legislators: you have lived in peace for far too long. That made you lost the guts to face up to dealing with terrorists and supporters. Hiding behind the immigration and citizenship laws is a sign of weakness. And even so, that does not give you the right to manipulate the laws simply for your convenience.
    As others pointed out, other than the limited number of natives, all citizens are descendants of migrants, probably including the majority of you. If the new law only applies to the second generation of migrants and not the other generations, it is outright discriminatiory. I don’t even know if it violates the Charter of Rights. If it does, the Government is starting a joke on herself!
    Please wake up and apply the right criminal laws to deal with criminals and leave the peaceful majority to contribute to the community in their own ways. O… Canada.

    Lola

    (July 4, 2015 - 2:18 pm)

    I agree with Kitty: it would be easier to take the content of this article seriously if it were well-written and (virtually) free of mistakes.

    Rene

    (July 5, 2015 - 3:32 pm)

    So basically this means people have to continue to earn their privilege of being Canadian by being law abiding citizens… I don’t see ANY problem with that. This two class point is mute as that part I’d dictated by international law. I’d go as far as include single citizenship Canadians in this too if we could.

    Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod

    (July 5, 2015 - 7:19 pm)

    This is fascinating, but so badly written and edited that it loses most credibility. Those who have concerns, and feel they may be affected, should consult an actual immigration lawyer rather than a fear-mongering, hysterical article like this. The fact that it’s full of typos and grammatical errors is a strong indication that it also contains factual errors, bias, and/or omissions and/or sloppy research.

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