Canadian Citizenship Rules Set to Undergo Major Change

The Federal government has recently proposed far-reaching changes to the rules applicable to the granting of Canadian citizenship to permanent residents.  The proposed changes, described in Bill C-24, Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, are currently being reviewed by the House of Commons.

The following summarizes some of the major components of the proposed changes to the Citizenship Act:

  • Extension of the physical residence requirement prior to applying for citizenship from 1095 days within the immediate four-year period to 1460 days within the previous six-year period
  • Requirement for an applicant to have been physically present in Canada for at least 183 days for at least 4 years out of the 6 year period prior to applying for citizenship
  • Requirement for applicants to have filed Canadian tax returns on worldwide income
  • Expansion of requirement for proof of language competency to those aged 14 to 64 from the current 18 to 54
  • Delegation of decisions regarding the granting of citizenship to Citizenship Officers rather than Citizenship Judges
  • Shift of citizenship process from a three-step to a one-step system
  • Increase in penalties associated with citizenship fraud

The proposed legislative changes have currently passed Third Reading, meaning that the proposed law is close to becoming law.  We will continue to provide information regarding the Bill as it becomes available.

For more information, please contact Sharaf Sultan or Lia Chiarotto at 416-214-1313.