Changes to the Citizenship Act: What Hope for Lost Canadians?

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Changes to the Citizenship Act: What hope for lost Canadians?

Bill S-245 amending the Citizenship Act will be introduced this fall in the House of Commons.

Pete Giesbrecht from Manitoba was on the verge of being deported from Canada in 2015, because he unknowingly lost his citizenship.

< p class="e-p">Manitoban hopes for progress as bill introduced in House of Commons this fall to address 'lost Canadians' who risk losing their citizenship because they failed to confirm it with authorities before reaching the age of 28.

Bill S-245 has already passed the Senate and passed first reading in the House of Commons before the House of Commons adjourned her work for the summer.

If it becomes law, it will eliminate the requirement for people to reaffirm their citizenship at the age of 28.

Pete Giesbrecht is one of thousands lost Canadians are people who, because of their place and date of birth, may lose their citizenship and leave Canada due to a confusing section of the Citizenship Act.

Mr. Giesbrecht was born on August 11, 1979 in Mexico. His parents were Canadian, but they were born in Mexico to a Mennonite family that had settled there.

But since 1977, second-generation Canadians born abroad had an automatic right to citizenship, but those children had to meet certain conditions and apply to retain their citizenship before they turned 28. If they didn't, they automatically and unknowingly lost their citizenship.

Mr. Giesbrecht then lost his citizenship, without knowing it.

Yet the legislative changes made in 2009 were supposed to fix this problem, but they did not apply to everyone and created new problems for others.

Bill C-37 limits citizenship by descent to the first generation born abroad. Foreign-born people in later generations must now become immigrants or, in some cases, apply for citizenship, which can take years, with no guarantee of acceptance.

In 2015, on Halloween, police summoned the man, who resided in Winkler in southern Manitoba, to notify him of his eviction within 30 days.

They said, “No, actually, you have 30 days to leave the country. And if you don't leave voluntarily, we'll fly you out with bracelets and all,” the man said.

At the time, Mr. Giesbrecht was a commercial truck driver and every year he regularly crossed the border into the United States for his job.

He had a Canadian passport, which he obtained before he turned 28, but he let it expire because he had an Express Card, which certified that he had been pre-authorized to cross the United States-Canada border.

His record was flagged when he applied for a new card in August 2015.

According to lawyer for the Lost Canadians Society in British Columbia, Don Chapman, the problem is compounded by the fact that the people involved do not have the information.

Here's the problem: he got a citizenship certificate. There was no mention on that citizenship certificate that he had to reaffirm it, Chapman said.

Subsequently, Mr. Giesbrecht's wife sponsored him for Canadian citizenship.

Don Chapman began pleading on his behalf on October 17, 2017 and Giesbrecht received his Canadian citizenship, for the second time.

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According to the& #x27;lawyer, the changes announced will be an important development.

There are thousands of people in Canada who are affected and who may not yet know it. And this [legislation] will ensure that they are fully recognized, as if they had never lost their citizenship.

However, not everything will be settled according to critics, explaining that there will be two classes of Canadian citizenship: one for Canadians born in Canada and one for those born in x27; foreign. Some Canadians will not be able to pass citizenship to any children born abroad.

What is discriminatory in the Citizenship Act is that there is no way for people to shed this second-class status, regardless of their close and deep ties to Canada, said Sujit Choudhry, a Toronto constitutional lawyer who represents families located in several countries.

With information from Karen Pauls

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