Vol. 149, No. 12 — June 17, 2015
SI/2015-46 June 17, 2015
STRENGTHENING CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP ACT
Order Fixing June 11, 2015 as the Day on which Certain Provisions of the Act Come into Force
P.C. 2015-751 June 4, 2015
His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, pursuant to subsections 46(2) and (3) of the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, chapter 22 of the Statutes of Canada, 2014, fixes June 11, 2015, as the day on which subsections 2(2), (3), (5), (6), (8), (11), (15) and (17) to (19), 3(1), (2), (4) to (6) and (8) and 4(2), (3), (5), (6), (8), (10) and (11), section 6, subsections 9(2) and (4), section 10, subsection 12(2), section 15, subsections 16(1) and (3), sections 17 and 18, subsections 19(1) and (3), section 23, subsections 24(1) to (5), (5.2) and (6) and sections 25, 26 and 28 to 30 of that Act come into force.
(This note is not part of the Order.)
This Order fixes June 11, 2015, as the day on which subsections 2(2), (3), (5), (6), (8), (11), (15) and (17) to (19), 3(1), (2), (4) to (6) and (8) and 4(2), (3), (5), (6), (8), (10) and (11), section 6, subsections 9(2) and (4), section 10, subsection 12(2), section 15, subsections 16(1) and (3), sections 17 and 18, subsections 19(1) and (3), section 23, subsections 24(2) to (5), (5.2) and (6) and sections 25 and 28 to 30 of the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act come into force. This Order also fixes June 11, 2015, as the day on which subsection 24(1) and section 26 of that Act come into force.
This Order brings into force the remaining provisions of the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, allowing the Government to strengthen and protect the value of Canadian citizenship.
The Government committed in the 2013 Speech from the Throne to introduce legislation to strengthen and protect the value of Canadian citizenship. The resulting Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, which received royal assent on June 19, 2014, contains many new proposals, as well as updates to existing provisions of the Citizenship Act. Certain provisions came into force upon royal assent, while others, namely the new decision-making model for citizenship applications, as well as various measures to improve the efficiency of the application process, came into force on August 1, 2014. Provisions related to streamlining the process for revocation of citizenship, as well as the introduction of new grounds for revocation (for dual citizens only), came into force at the end of May 2015.
Effects of the Order
This Order in Council brings into force the remaining provisions of the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, including those related to enhancing the requirements for citizenship, preventing fraud, and improving the integrity of the citizenship program. It also brings into force provisions giving the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration the authority to make regulations relating to application procedures, including the manner in which applications are to be made and specifying the information and evidence that applicants must provide in support of them.
With respect to enhancing the requirements for citizenship, this Order brings into force a number of provisions which strengthen the requirements for citizenship eligibility, including
- a requirement to physically reside in Canada for four out of the previous six years, as well as an “intent to reside” provision;
- expansion of the age group that must meet language and knowledge requirements to ages 14 to 64;
- a requirement for knowledge of Canada to be demonstrated in an official language; and
- a requirement to file income tax returns, when obligated to do so under the Income Tax Act.
This Order also brings into force provisions to extend citizenship to more “Lost Canadians” born before January 1, 1947 (or April 1, 1949, in the case of Newfoundland and Labrador), and to their children born in the first generation outside Canada. It also extends access to a grant of Canadian citizenship under the adoption provisions of the Citizenship Act to persons adopted before January 1, 1947 (April 1, 1949, in the case of Newfoundland and Labrador).
With respect to fraud prevention, this Order brings into force a number of provisions, including
- increasing offences and penalties for misrepresentation and fraud in line with provisions under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act;
- allowing the designation of a body to regulate citizenship consultants, including related penalties for representation without authorization;
- lengthening the period of time applicants must be free of applicable criminal convictions before being eligible for citizenship;
- barring permanent residents with conditions on their status from obtaining citizenship until their conditions are fulfilled;
- obligating applicants to meet the citizenship requirements up until the taking of the oath; and
- giving the authority to make regulations related to the sharing of citizenship applicant information with partners.
This Order will also bring into force a number of additional program integrity measures, including
- expansion of criminal prohibitions to bar applicants for crimes committed abroad, including a Ministerial waiver in certain circumstances;
- authority to refuse citizenship applications of individuals who have served as a member of an armed force or organized armed group engaged in an armed conflict with Canada and/or those convicted of terrorism, high treason, treason or spying, depending on the sentence imposed;
- authority to refuse citizenship applications for adoptees where the adoption circumvents the legal requirements for international adoptions; and
- authority to bar an applicant where there are reasonable grounds to believe that a person has engaged in, is engaging in, or may engage in activities which pose a threat to national security.
Lastly, this Order brings into force a measure to allow for alternative proofs of citizenship, including through electronic means.
A high profile communications approach will highlight the coming into force of the remaining provisions of the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act. Media products will include a news release, backgrounder(s), speaking notes and various Web updates. Media lines and questions and answers will be updated or developed, as needed.
The Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration conducted two weeks of hearings on the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act and heard from more than 35 witnesses, including representatives from many stakeholder organizations. During the legislative process, the overall response to the Act from Canadians, including those born in Canada and those who were naturalized, has been supportive. Media coverage related to the Act has been neutral to positive.
Legislation and Program Policy
Citizenship and Multiculturalism Branch
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
180 Kent Street