16 Jun, 2017 Bill C-6: Amending Canada’s Citizenship Act | Canada Immigration News
Bill C-6, an Act to amend Canada’s Citizenship Act, was finally passed by the House of Commons this week. The Bill will have a big impact on the requirements of permanent residents applying for Canadian citizenship.
Updated June 21, 2017: Bill C-6 has been passed by both the Senate and the House of Commons. It has now received royal assent, and has become a law and amended the Citizenship Act. Bill C-6:
- Reduces the residency requirement to apply for citizenship from 4 out of 6 years to 3 out of 5 years.
- Includes time spent in Canada before becoming a permanent resident in the calculation of the residency requirement.
- Restores the maximum age requirement to demonstrate language proficiency and knowledge of Canada from 64 to 55, and increase the minimum age from 14 to 18.
- Removes the grounds for revoking Canadian citizenship of dual citizenship for reasons related to national security.
- Removes the requirement that applicants intend to reside in Canada if granted citizenship.
Bill C-6 was first introduced by former Immigration Minister John McCallum in February, 2016. Since then, it has bounced between the House of Commons and the Senate. Now, the final amendments made and passed by the Senate in May have passed at the House of Commons. All that’s left is for C-6 to receive royal assent before the Citizenship Act is amended.
C-6 was tabled to amend changes that were made by Bill C-24 in 2014. C-24 was introduced and pushed through by the former Conservative government, and was widely critiqued for making citizenship both more difficult to obtain, and more precarious. Critics argued that it created ‘second class citizenship’ for naturalized citizens whose citizenship might be revoked and who had no access to a repeal process to defend themselves.
BILL C-24 & CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP
When it was introduced, Bill C-24 changed the requirements for becoming a naturalized citizen.
First, it increased the residence requirement to apply for citizenship. Under C-24, applicants needed to have been physically residing in Canada for four years (1,460 days) out of the last six years before submitting an application. It further complicated the residency requirement by adding a requirement that the applicant be physically residing in Canada for at least 183 days within each year before applying.
Second, it extended the requirement that applicants have adequate knowledge of English or French and adequate knowledge of Canada to apply to applicants between the ages of 14-64.
Finally, it expanded the grounds for revoking citizenship, based on national security reasons. Specifically, dual citizens who were convicted of offences related to national security, such as terrorism or treason, or who had served as a member of an armed force in an armed conflict against Canada, could have their Canadian citizenship revoked.
Bill C-24 also added an important new requirement: applicants must intend to reside in Canada.
Bill C-6 revokes a lot of the amendments from Bill C-24.
The residency requirement for applying for citizenship is reduced from four years (1,460 days) out of six to three years (1,095 days) out of five. The minimum number of days within each year requirement is also removed.
Bill C-6 also introduces a new way of counting days of physical residence in Canada. For citizenship purposes, time spent in Canada as a temporary resident or a protected person can be taken into account. Every day spent in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person counts as a half-day of residence, up to 365 days full days. Every day spent in Canada as a permanent resident counts as a full day of residence.
CALCULATING RESIDENCE IN CANADA: AN EXAMPLE
If you spent two years in Canada as an international student before becoming a permanent resident, you will have accumulated one full year of physical residence in Canada for citizenship. That means you will be eligible to apply for citizenship after only two years of permanent residence.
However, if you spent three years in Canada as an international student, you will still have only accumulated one full year of physical residence in Canada for citizenship.
Second, C-6 restored the age requirement to demonstrate adequate knowledge of English or French, and adequate knowledge of Canada, to 18-55 years old.
Third, it repealed the provision that allowed for the revocation of citizenship for national security reasons. Dual citizens who are convicted of terrorism or treason, and those who served as a member of an armed force in an armed conflict against Canada will no longer have their citizenship revoked. Citizens who misrepresent themselves or commit fraud in obtaining their citizenship can still have their citizenship revoked. However, under C-24, the effect of citizenship revocation in some circumstances was that the affected person became a foreign national. Under C-6, individuals whose citizenship is revoked become permanent residents.
The requirement that applicants intend to reside in Canada has also been repealed.
Importantly, some of these changes take effect retroactively. So anyone whose citizenship was revoked for national security reasons is now deemed not to have lost their citizenship. Anyone who applied for and was granted citizenship under C-24 is deemed never to have had the requirement of intention to reside in Canada.
It all starts with becoming a Canadian permanent resident. Are you interested in moving to Canada permanently? Our free online assessment can help you discover all of your Canadian immigration options.
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