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Ottawa wants to extend citizenship to children of Canadians born abroad

Photo: Ethan Cairns La Presse canadienne «Les règles actuelles restreignent généralement la citoyenneté par filiation à la première génération, excluant certaines personnes ayant un lien authentique avec le Canada», a déclaré Marc Miller.

Federal Immigration Minister Marc Miller tabled a bill on Thursday that would allow citizenship by descent beyond the first generation.

If the bill Bill C-71 is adopted, children born abroad to a Canadian parent also born abroad would automatically obtain Canadian citizenship. Children of Canadians born abroad and adopted by a Canadian parent beyond the first generation would also obtain direct citizenship.

“Current rules generally restrict the citizenship by descent to the first generation, excluding certain people with a genuine connection to Canada,” said the minister, accompanied by NDP MP Jenny Kwan.

In 2009, the Conservative government changed the law so that Canadian parents born abroad could not pass on their citizenship unless their child was born in Canada.

Three years in Canada before

Parents born outside the country must have spent at least three years in Canada before birth or adoption of their child to transmit their Canadian citizenship.

“This is the threshold provided for by the naturalization law. I think that’s a reasonable limit to what constitutes a substantial connection to Canada,” he explained.

Mr. Miller was unable to specify how many people might be granted citizenship through these changes.

“It could be a few thousand,” he estimated, before turning to Don Chapman, the president of the Lost Canadian Society, an organization campaigning for changes to Canadian citizenship laws. The latter was also unable to quantify the people who will be able to obtain citizenship by descent.

The bill would also restore the citizenship of “Canadians dispossessed of their citizenship”, meaning people who lost or never acquired citizenship due to previous citizenship legislation.

More details will follow.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116