What is Required to Apply for Canadian Citizenship following Bill C-24?


The Citizenship Act was reformed last year with the introduction of bill C-24. The bill C-24 received Royal Assent on June 19, 2014. The amendments to the citizenship requirements came into force this month.
In order to apply for citizenship, the applicants must meet the new requirements. If you qualified for citizenship in May, there is a very good reason to belief that you may not qualify today based on the new rules.

Some of the key changes were made in the following areas:

  • Residency requirements and intention to reside
  • Language requirements, and
  • Requirement to file taxes

The following table lists the changes as per Citizenship and Immigration Canada:

BEFORE AFTER
Residence for three out of four years (1,095 days) Requires physical presence in Canada for four years (1,460 days) out of the six years immediately before the date of application (in effect June 11, 2015)
No requirement that residents be physically present. Requires 183 days minimum of physical presence in Canada during each of the four calendar years that are fully or partially within the six years immediately before the date of application (in effect June 11, 2015)
Time as a non-permanent resident (non-PR) may be counted toward residence for citizenship Eliminates use of time spent in Canada as a non-permanent resident (non-PR) for most applicants (in effect June 11, 2015)
No “intent to reside” provision Introduces “intent to reside” provision (in effect June 11, 2015)
Adult applicants aged 18-54 must meet language requirements and pass test Legislation now requires applicants aged 14–64 to meet language requirements and pass knowledge test (in effect June 11, 2015)
Most “lost Canadians” had their citizenship restored in 2009, but small member remained ineligible for citizenship Extends citizenship to “Lost Canadians” born before 1947 as well as their 1st generation children born abroad (in effect June 11, 2015)
Bars to citizenship for people with domestic criminal charges and convictions Expansion of criminal prohibitions to bar applicants for crimes committed abroad. (in effect June 11, 2015)
Consultants not required to be registered or regulated in order to represent individuals in citizenship matters
Few tools to deter fraud and ensure program integrity
Fines and penalties for fraud are a maximum of $1,000 and/or one year in prison
Clearly defines who is authorized to provide representation or advice in a consultant capacity on citizenship matters and receive consideration (i.e. compensation)
Newly-designated Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council is the new regulatory body for citizenship consultants
Gives the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada the authority to refuse an application for recognized status as a consultant if applicant commits fraud
Fines and penalties for fraud are up to a maximum $100,000 and/or up to five years in prison (in effect June 11, 2015)New offences and penalties will be implemented for a person who counsels known misrepresentation or represents or advises a citizenship applicant and are unauthorized to do so (in effect June 11, 2015)
Governor in Council (GIC) final decision maker for citizenship revocation Gives Minister of Citizenship and Immigration authority to decide on most revocation cases Complex revocation cases such as war crimes, crimes against humanity, security, other human or international rights violations, and organized criminality decided by the Federal Court (in effect May 28, 2015)
Limited authority to define what constitutes a complete application Establishes authority to define what constitutes a complete application and what evidence applicants must provide (in effect since August 2014.
Citizenship grant is a three-step decision-making process Changes citizenship grant to a single-step process for most applications that reduces duplication and improves processing times (in effect since August 2014)
No requirement to file Canadian income taxes to be eligible for a grant of citizenship Requires adult applicants to file Canadian income taxes, if required under the Income Tax Act, to be eligible for citizenship (in effect June 11, 2015)
No authority to revoke citizenship for grounds beyond fraud and misrepresentation Authority to revoke Canadian citizenship from dual citizens who served as members of an armed force of a country or an organized armed group engaged in armed conflict with Canada (in effect May 28, 2015)
Authority to revoke Canadian citizenship from dual citizens who are convicted of terrorism, high treason, treason, or spying offences, depending on the sentence received (in effect May 28, 2015)
Authority to deny Canadian citizenship to permanent residents who served as members of an armed force of a country or an organized armed group engaged in armed conflict with Canada or who are convicted of terrorism, high treason, treason, or spying offences, depending on the sentence received (in effect June 11, 2015)
Misrepresentation on applications could only be pursued through the laying of charges by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Applicants can be refused for misrepresenting or withholding material facts on applications and are subsequently barred from being granted citizenship for five years (in effect May 28, 2015)
No fast-track mechanism for citizenship for members of the military to honour their service to the Canadian Armed Forces Creates a fast-track mechanism for citizenship for individuals serving or on exchange with the Canadian Armed Forces to honour their service to Canada (in effect since June 2014)

To be eligible for citizenship, an applicant must meet the conditions in all of the following listed areas:

  • Age,
  • Income tax filling,
  • Language skills,
  • Permanent resident status in the last 6 years,
  • Intention to reside,
  • Must not be otherwise inadmissible.

There has been an array of changes in citizenship law. An applicant must ensure that he or she meets the requirements before applying for citizenship.

One of the Liberal Government’s agenda when running for the Federal Election was that when in power the Liberals will repeal Bill C-24 which creates second-class citizens and elements that make it more difficult for hard-working immigrants to become Canada citizens.

It seems like the Liberals are keeping the promise. Bill C-6, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act is in the House of Commons as of March, 20 2017.

For more information about the bill, please visit Openparliament.ca at the following link: https://openparliament.ca/bills/42-1/C-6/

Date of Article : March 29, 2017
Prepared By : GSD Law Group