Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Citizenship and Immigration Canada

April 17, 2009 10:28 ET

Minister Kenney Announces New Citizenship Law in Effect

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 17, 2009) - Canada's new citizenship law takes effect today, announced Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.

The law restores or gives citizenship to many who lost it or didn't have it due to outdated provisions in past legislation. It also protects the value of Canadian citizenship for the future by limiting citizenship by descent.

"The Government of Canada takes Canadian citizenship seriously," said Minister Kenney. "That is why we have taken concrete action to help many 'lost Canadians' who didn't have citizenship and that is why we're protecting its value for the future."

The changes implemented today mean that certain people who became Canadian citizens on or after January 1, 1947, when the first citizenship act took effect, and who then lost citizenship, will have their status restored back to the date they lost it. Some may have lost it when they left the country. Others, born outside Canada, may have ceased to be Canadian by not taking steps to retain their citizenship.

The changes will also grant citizenship to those who have never been Canadian, but who are part of the first generation born outside Canada on or after January 1, 1947, to a Canadian parent. Their citizenship will be retroactive to their date of birth.

The new law will - with a few exceptions - limit citizenship by descent to one generation born outside Canada. This means that children born to Canadian parents in the first generation outside Canada will only be Canadian at birth if:

- one parent was born in Canada; or

- one parent became a Canadian citizen by immigrating to Canada and was later granted citizenship through naturalization.

"This important change will ensure that future generations of Canadians have a real connection to this country and the remarkable benefits of Canadian citizenship," said Rudyard Griffiths, co-founder of the Dominion Institute and author of Who We Are: A Citizen's Manifesto. "The new law strengthens what it means to be Canadian in new and positive ways. It makes citizenship matter to Canadians and gives it an increased value."

This restriction will not apply to a child born outside Canada in the second or subsequent generations if, at the time of the child's birth, their Canadian parent is working outside Canada for the Canadian government or a Canadian province or serving outside Canada with the Canadian forces.

No one will lose their citizenship as a result of these amendments; everyone who was a Canadian citizen on April 16 will keep their citizenship. The government will continue to address exceptional cases individually and on a case-by-case basis.

Consult the CIC website at to find out more about the new citizenship law, including a self assessment tool to help people determine whether they are likely to be Canadian under the new law, as well as frequently asked questions, and a video.

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