Vol. 151, No. 21 — October 18, 2017
SI/2017-57 October 18, 2017
AN ACT TO AMEND THE CITIZENSHIP ACT AND TO MAKE CONSEQUENTIAL AMENDMENTS TO ANOTHER ACT
Order Fixing October 11, 2017 as the Day on which Certain Provisions of the Act Come into Force
P.C. 2017-1205 September 29, 2017
His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, pursuant to subsections 27(1) to (3) of An Act to amend the Citizenship Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act, chapter 14 of the Statutes of Canada, 2017, fixes October 11, 2017 as the day on which subsections 1(1) to (4), (6), (7), (9) and (10) and sections 8 and 13 of that Act come into force.
(This note is not part of the Order.)
This Order in Council fixes October 11, 2017, as the day on which subsections 1(1) to (4), (6), (7), (9) and (10) and sections 8 and 13 of An Act to amend the Citizenship Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act (formerly Bill C-6) come into force.
This Order in Council brings into force various provisions of An Act to amend the Citizenship Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act, allowing the Government to fulfill its mandate commitments related to citizenship and to facilitate newcomers’ access to citizenship.
The Government committed to make certain amendments to the Citizenship Act, as outlined in the mandate letter of the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship and the 2015 Speech from the Throne. These commitments relate to
- repealing provisions in the Act that allow for citizenship to be revoked from dual citizens under national interest grounds;
- repealing the provision that citizenship applicants declare their intent to reside in Canada, which would eliminate any misperception that new Canadians would need to maintain an “intent to reside” even after obtaining citizenship; and
- making it easier for immigrants to build successful lives in Canada and contribute to the economic success of all Canadians.
Bill C-6, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act, which received royal assent on June 19, 2017, reflects these commitments and includes some additional measures to further enhance program integrity. Certain provisions came into force upon royal assent, including
- repealing the national interest grounds for citizenship revocation, and restoring citizenship to anyone who had it revoked under these grounds;
- repealing the intent to reside provision, and deeming that the requirement did not apply to any person who acquired citizenship while this provision was in force;
- clarifying that conditional sentence orders are included in the prohibitions to acquiring citizenship;
- clarifying that all applicants must meet citizenship requirements up until the taking of the citizenship oath; and
- removing the age requirement for a grant of citizenship under subsection 5(1) of the Citizenship Act, which permits minors to apply for citizenship without a Canadian parent.
This Order in Council brings into force a number of provisions that facilitate access to citizenship. Provisions related to the new revocation decision-making model and seizure of suspected fraudulent documents will come into force at later dates, once supporting regulatory amendments are finalized for publication in the Canada Gazette.
Effect of the Order
This Order in Council brings into force a number of provisions of An Act to amend the Citizenship Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act that relate to increasing flexibility and facilitating the acquisition of citizenship for eligible applicants.
Specifically, this Order in Council brings into force provisions that relate to the physical presence requirement. These include
- reducing the physical presence requirement for an adult grant of citizenship to the equivalent of three years within the five years preceding the date of the application (rather than four years out of six years);
- adjusting the requirement that applicants demonstrate that they have met their tax filing obligations under the Income Tax Act, for three taxation years out of five years, in line with the new physical presence requirement;
- removing the requirement for applicants to be in Canada for 183 days in each of 4 calendar years in that same period; and
- allowing applicants to count time spent in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person prior to becoming a permanent resident towards meeting the physical presence requirement for an adult grant of citizenship.
None of these provisions above apply to applications already received by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and which are part of the current citizenship inventory. These new requirements will apply to citizenship applications received on or after the coming into force date of October 11, 2017.
This Order in Council also brings into force those provisions that change the age range of applicants who must meet language and knowledge requirements for citizenship. Specifically, this Order brings into force amendments limiting the age range of citizenship applicants who must meet the language and knowledge requirements to those aged 18–54 (rather than those aged 14–64). This change would apply to applications already in the citizenship inventory which have not received a final determination as of the coming-into-force date.
An Act to amend the Citizenship Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act was considered by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration in 2016 and then by the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, with stakeholders representing interests and giving testimony on the legislation and its anticipated impact.
The Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration conducted 5 meetings on the Act, received written briefs and heard from more than 15 witnesses, including representatives from many stakeholder organizations. Overall, measures contained in the former Bill C-6 to facilitate access to citizenship received support, with most of the criticism directed to the changes related to revocation grounds as well as the lack of changes to the Minister’s authority to revoke citizenship on basic fraud grounds. Furthermore, the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology conducted four meetings where witnesses and representatives of stakeholder groups were invited to appear. As with the House Standing Committee, Senate Committee members generally supported the changes with some criticism raised regarding the revocation process.
Legislation and Program Policy
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