Changes to the Canadian Citizenship Rules in 2017

Anyone who is born in Canada on or after  Feb 4, 1977, is automatically a Canadian Citizen. Some people, however, immigrate to Canada as Permanent Residents and then become citizens. This group is called naturalized citizens. To become a naturalized citizen you need to meet certain conditions such as knowing the official languages, meeting the residency requirements, and having no major issues with the law.

The Government of Canada made several changes to the Citizenship Act in 2015. Those changes created chaos. For example, candidates needed to meet challenging conditions to become citizens. They had to promise the government they intended to live in Canada for the rest of their lives. The latter was contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Dual citizens could lose their Canadia Citizenship because of crimes such as treason, espionage, and terrorism. While punishing traitors and criminals is necessary, losing citizenship over it seems to be an irrelevant punishment.

Luckily, the new Government of Canada proposed several changes to the Canadian Citizenship Act which practically reverses many of 2015 changes. The changes will come into effect as follows:

Canadian Citizenship

Effective June 19, 2017

  • None of the Canadian Citizens are forced to live or remain in Canada. They may enjoy their rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (subsection 6(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982).
  • Dual Citizens will enjoy the same rights as other Canadian Citizens. They won’t lose their citizenship because of the acts against Canadian security. Of course, they may face criminal charges, imprisonment, etc. if they threaten the security of Canadians.

Effective Fall 2017

  • When applying for before citizenship, they need to show they lived an equivalent of three years  out of the past five years in Canada (previously four out of six years among other limitations)
  • Only those candidates who are between 18 and 54 need to show proof of language proficiency and take the citizenship test (previously between 14 and 64)
  • If the candidate held a work permit, was a refugee claimant, or held a study permit prior to becoming a Permanent Resident of Canada then part of their residency at the time will be considered for their citizenship application (previously only the PR residency was acceptable)

Effective January 2018

  • The Federal Court of Canada will be the decision-maker on revoking Canadian Citizenship. The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship has no final say on this matter anymore.

The roadmap for Canadian Citizenship is now brighter. If you want our firm to help you with the process, please contact us. We can also help you with visa, study permits, work permits, and permanent residency applications.


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Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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Al Parsai

This article has been expertly crafted by Al Parsai, a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University. A respected member of CICC and CAPIC organizations, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.