Canada Day – A Reminder of Canadian Citizenship
Draen immigrated to Canada from Croatia two years ago. He is excited to become a Canadian citizen soon. Although Draen is not a Canadian citizen yet, he celebrates Canada Day on July first every year. He considers himself a Canadian already.
Canada Day marks the inception of Canada on July 1, 1867, when the Constitution Act, 1867 (also known as the British North America Act, 1867) came into effect. However, it took us several years to claim our full sovereignty and identity as a country. For example, Canadian Citizenship as we know it came to existence only on January 1, 1947.
Who is a Canadian Citizen
The Canadian Citizenship Act has gone through many changes since its initial introduction in 1947. The current version defines a citizen under sections 3 to 5 of the Act. If I simplify the provisions of the Act, Canadian Citizenship is boiled down to the following categories.
- Any person who is born in Canada (except for those born to foreign diplomats)
- A first-generation Canadian who is born outside Canada
- A person who immigrates to Canada and then later becomes a naturalized citizen
The categories that I explained above are very generic. There are so many exceptions to this list that call for another article.
Who is a Naturalized Citizen
People may immigrate to Canada under three main categories: Family Reunification, Economic Immigration, and Refugees (section 12 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act). When a person immigrates to Canada, they become Permanent Residents of Canada. These Permanent Residents may become Canadian Citizens if they meet specific criteria, such as,
- I have been physically in Canada for at least 1095 days in the past five years. You may receive credit for being present in Canada as a visitor, international student, or foreign worker.
- Their permanent residency is valid and not under review
- They do not face a removal order from Canada
- They have filed their taxes regularly (at least three times in the past five years)
- They know one of the official languages of Canada (i.e. French or English)
- They do not face significant issues with the law inside or outside Canada
If someone meets the requirements, they need to submit an application for Citizenship, pass the Citizenship test (depending on their age), and take the Citizenship Oath.
Here is the oath of Canadian citizenship in English:
I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen.
And, here is the oath of Canadian citizenship in French:
Je jure (ou j’affirme solennellement) Que je serai fidèle Et porterai sincère allégeance à Sa Majesté la Reine Elizabeth Deux Reine du Canada À ses héritiers et successeurs Que j’observerai fidèlement les lois du Canada Et que je remplirai loyalement mes obligations de citoyen canadien.
People who successfully meet all the requirements and eventually take the Citizenship Oath to become Naturalized Citizens. The rules and regulations of Canada are the same for born citizens and naturalized citizens. When you become a naturalized citizen, nobody can take citizenship away unless you have obtained it fraudulently.
Who is a First-Generation Canadian
A first-generation Canadian concerning the Citizenship Act is someone who is born outside Canada. Still, at least one of their parents is either a naturalized citizen or a citizen born inside Canada. A first-generation Canadian is a Canadian citizen by birth.
When you become a Canadian Citizen, you may apply for a Canadian passport. However, you need to meet specific criteria and, in most cases, have a guarantor. Some non-Canadian residents of Canada may also be eligible for Canadian passports under certain circumstances.
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