Backgrounder - Sample scenarios

People who would obtain citizenship would include:

1. People born abroad who resided outside Canada for 10 consecutive years or more

Fictional case: In 1945, Ingrid, who was born in the Netherlands, married Robert, who was born in Canada. They had a son (Hans) in the Netherlands in 1946. In November 1946, Ingrid arrived in Canada with Hans to join Robert. Ingrid automatically became a citizen when the 1947 Canadian Citizenship Act came into force. In 1952, she returned to the Netherlands and has lived there ever since.

Ingrid ceased to be a citizen in 1962 because she lived outside Canada for 10 consecutive years before 1967.

People who left Canada for 10 consecutive years or more between 1947 and 1967, and who were neither born in Canada nor born abroad to a Canadian parent, automatically ceased to be citizens under the 1947 Act.

Citizenship status: This bill would restore citizenship to Ingrid back to the date she lost it in 1962.


Erratum: Originally, this section was titled "People born abroad before 1947 to a Canadian parent (after the parents married)"

2. People born abroad in the first generation who became citizens on 1/1/47 and who then lost citizenship for failure to retain under the 1947 Act

Fictional case: Hans, son of Ingrid and Robert, automatically obtained citizenship on January 1, 1947, when the 1947 Canadian Citizenship Act came into force, as he was born in wedlock to a father who was born in Canada and who had also become a citizen on the same date. Hans returned to the Netherlands with his mother in 1952 and then moved to the U.K. in 1968 where he continues to reside.

Hans lost his citizenship on the day after his 24th birthday in 1970 because he was not residing in Canada on his 24th birthday, nor did he file a declaration of retention between his 21st and 24th birthday.

Citizenship status: This bill would restore citizenship to Hans back to the date he lost it in 1970.


3. People born abroad to a Canadian parent between 1947 and 1977

Fictional case: Pierre’s parents, grandparents and great-grandparents were born in Quebec and resided in a town near the U.S. border. In 1960, Pierre’s mother gave birth to him in the nearest hospital across the border.

She returned to Canada with him shortly after his birth. Pierre has lived in Canada his entire life. Pierre’s parents were not aware of the requirement to register his birth with citizenship officials. Pierre has Canadian ID such as a health card, driver’s licence and SIN card, and pays taxes and votes. He is not aware that he is not a citizen today.

Citizenship status: Pierre would obtain citizenship automatically under this bill, back to his date of birth in 1960.


4. People born abroad to a non-Canadian mother and a Canadian father (unmarried) between 1947 and 1977

Fictional case: Jennifer was born outside Canada in 1972 to a Canadian father and a non-Canadian mother. Her parents never married. Jennifer has always resided outside Canada but spends summers with her paternal grandparents in Canada. Jennifer and her non-Canadian spouse had a son (Edwin) in 1992 outside Canada. They are considering moving to Canada permanently. Jennifer has never taken any steps to acquire Canadian citizenship.

Citizenship status: Jennifer would obtain citizenship back to her date of birth under this bill. Since Jennifer is the first generation born abroad, her son Edwin is a second generation child and so will not obtain citizenship under this bill.

As a citizen, Jennifer can sponsor her spouse and any dependent children to come to Canada under immigration rules.


5. Adult dual citizen took an oath to another country between 1947 and 1977

Fictional case: Daniel was born in Alberta in 1952 to U.S. citizen parents. He was a dual citizen at birth since he was born in Canada and he obtained U.S. citizenship through his parents.

In 1974, he applied for a citizenship certificate from the U.S. authorities to have proof of his U.S. citizenship. When he picked up his certificate from the U.S. consulate in Canada, he signed a U.S. form in which he renounced all other citizenships. As a result, he automatically lost his Canadian citizenship.

Daniel has lived all his life in Canada. He contacted the CIC Call Centre to ask about his citizenship status and it was determined that he had lost his citizenship in 1974 when he got his U.S. citizenship certificate. Daniel was invited to apply for a special grant of citizenship and became a citizen in the spring of 2007.

Citizenship status: Though Daniel is a citizen today, this bill would restore citizenship to him back to the date he lost it in 1974.


6. People who lost their citizenship between 1947 and 1977 by becoming citizens of another country (adults and minors)

Fictional case: Jamal and his parents were all born in Canada. The family moved to the U.S. in 1951 and all became U.S. citizens on March 1, 1956, when Jamal was 10 years old. Jamal lost his Canadian citizenship when his parents chose to make the family U.S. citizens. Jamal remained in the U.S. and is now 61 years old with a wife, children and grandchildren who are U.S. citizens, having been born there.

In 2005, the Act was amended to allow people who lost citizenship as minors to resume citizenship without first becoming a permanent resident and residing in Canada (Bill S-2). Jamal applied for and resumed his Canadian citizenship in 2006.

Citizenship status: Though he is a citizen today, this bill would restore citizenship to Jamal (and his parents if living) back to the date they lost citizenship in 1956.

Jamal’s children are the first generation born abroad and would automatically obtain citizenship under the bill back to their date of birth.

His grandchildren born in the U.S. would not obtain citizenship under the bill since they are the second generation born abroad.


7. People adopted by a Canadian parent outside Canada between 1947 and 1977

Fictional case: Kathleen, who was born in Canada, moved to Australia in 1969. In 1973, she adopted Ruth, who had been born in Australia earlier that year. Ruth never became a Canadian citizen.

Citizenship status: Under this bill, Ruth could apply for citizenship because she was adopted by a Canadian after January 1, 1947.


8. Second or subsequent generation born abroad after 1977

Fictional case: Maria is a fourth-generation Canadian born abroad:

  • Maria was born in Belize in 2001 and has never lived in Canada.
  • Maria’s father was born in Belize in 1978 to a Canadian mother (Maria’s grandmother).
  • Maria’s grandmother was born out of wedlock in Belize in 1955 to a Canadian mother (Maria’s great-grandmother).
  • Maria’s great-grandmother was born in Belize in 1937 to a father who was born in Ontario in 1915 (Maria’s great-great-grandfather). Maria is a citizen today and must take steps and apply to keep her citizenship before she turns 28.

Citizenship status: Under this bill, Maria would remain a citizen and would no longer be required to apply, before her 28th birthday, to retain her Canadian citizenship.

If Maria has children abroad after the bill comes into force, her children would not be citizens.

People who would not obtain citizenship would include:

1. Adult who renounced his citizenship to the Canadian government

Fictional case: Carlos was a 25-year-old dual citizen who obtained a job at a foreign consulate in Canada and became a diplomat. To accept the job offer, he had to formally renounce his Canadian citizenship. He applied to the Canadian government to renounce his citizenship in 2000 and it was approved by a citizenship judge later that year. Today, Carlos is not a Canadian citizen.

Citizenship status: This bill would not restore citizenship to Carlos. He can apply to resume citizenship after qualifying for and becoming a permanent resident and after residing in Canada as a permanent resident for one year.


2. People whose citizenship was revoked for fraud

Fictional case: In 1980, Nolan was convicted of theft and assault with a weapon in a home invasion in the U.S. Nolan did not disclose his conviction to immigration officials when he applied for and obtained permanent residence in Canada in 1990. He became a citizen in 1995.

In 2000, it was discovered that he lied at the time he applied for permanent residence and that the information was material to the decision to grant him status in Canada. In 2002, citizenship revocation proceedings began and Nolan’s citizenship was revoked in 2003 as his permanent resident status had been obtained as a result of fraud. Nolan was deported in late 2003.

Citizenship status: This bill would not restore citizenship to Nolan.


3. People born abroad before 1947 to a Canadian parent (before parents married)

Fictional case: Paula was born in Wales in 1943. Her father was born in Canada. Her parents married in 1945. The family moved to Canada in 1946 and have lived there ever since. Paula’s parents never applied for citizenship on her behalf and assumed she was a citizen. After hearing about problems some people had in proving their citizenship, Paula applied for a proof of citizenship.

After a review of Paula’s application, it was determined that she was never a citizen, but that she had lived in Canada as a permanent resident since her arrival in 1946. Paula was invited to apply for a special grant of citizenship and became a citizen in the spring of 2007.

Citizenship status: This bill would not have an effect on Paula. Paula was born before 1947 and did not acquire citizenship in 1947 when Canada’s first citizenship act came into effect. However, Paula would remain a citizen as she was granted citizenship in 2007.


4. Second generation born or adopted abroad after 1977

Fictional case: Ali was born in Turkey in 1979 and has resided outside Canada all his life. Ali’s mother (Janine) was born in the U.S. in 1955 to Canadian parents but Janine’s parents never registered her birth with citizenship officials. Ali and his mother applied for proof of Canadian citizenship in 2002.

As a result of her 2002 application, Janine was registered as a citizen born abroad. Since Janine’s birth was registered after 1977, Ali is considered second generation born abroad and needs to take steps to retain his citizenship before turning 28. Ali turned 28 in 2007 and never applied to retain citizenship. Ali automatically lost citizenship when he turned 28.

Citizenship status: This bill would not restore citizenship to Ali. Ali can apply to resume citizenship after qualifying for and becoming a permanent resident and after residing in Canada as a permanent resident for one year.


5. Second generation born or adopted abroad after 1947

Fictional case: Ruth was born outside Canada and adopted by a Canadian citizen in 1973. Ruth gave birth to Myron in 1999 and adopted Stephanie in 2001 outside Canada.

Citizenship status: Once this bill comes into force, Ruth could apply for and be granted citizenship.

As the second generation born or adopted abroad, Myron and Stephanie would not obtain citizenship under this bill.

6. Former British subjects born or naturalized in Canada

Fictional case: Joan was born in New Brunswick in 1925, before Canadian citizenship existed, and was therefore a British subject. In 1935, Joan and her family moved to the U.S. When the family became U.S. citizens in 1940, Joan and her father lost their British subject status. As a result, Joan did not become a Canadian citizen in 1947 when Canada’s first citizenship act came into effect.

Citizenship status: Joan would not obtain citizenship under this bill since she has never been a Canadian citizen.


Note: Any person who would not become a citizen under the bill or meet the requirements to be granted citizenship as an adopted person can either:

  1. apply for permanent residence in Canada under immigration rules; after living in Canada as a permanent resident and meeting all the requirements for citizenship, a person can then apply to become a citizen; or
  2. in situations of special and unusual hardship, a person may request consideration for a special grant of citizenship. Such applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

People whose citizenship would not be affected would include:

Selected examples

1. War brides and their children

Fictional case: Margaret was born in the U.K. In 1943, Margaret married Guy, a Canadian soldier born in Canada. Their daughter Emily was born in England in 1944. In 1946, Margaret and Emily arrived in Canada and have lived here ever since.

On January 1, 1947, both Margaret and Emily automatically became Canadian citizens when the Canadian Citizenship Act came into force.

Citizenship status: Like almost all war brides, Margaret and her daughter Emily have been citizens since January 1, 1947. This bill would have no effect on them.


2. People born abroad to a Canadian parent between 1947 and 1977 (registered birth)

Fictional case: Isabelle’s parents, grandparents and great-grandparents were born in Saskatchewan and resided in a town near the U.S. border. In 1960, Isabelle’s mother gave birth to her at the nearest hospital across the border. She returned to Canada with her soon after her birth. Isabelle’s parents registered Isabelle’s birth with citizenship officials two months later. Isabelle has resided in Canada her entire life.

Citizenship status: The bill would have no effect on Isabelle since she is considered a citizen by birth and has never lost citizenship.

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