News Release — Building a stronger Canada: the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act

posted on February 18, 2014

By CIC News | Linkt to Article 

By CIC News | Linkt to Article 

Vancouver, February 18, 2014 — Today Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander reinforced that the government is taking firm steps toward ensuring that new citizens demonstrate a genuine attachment to Canada.

Minister Alexander highlighted measures in Bill C-24, the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, through which the government is proposing stronger rules around access to Canadian citizenship to underline its true value and to ensure that new citizens are better prepared for full participation in Canadian life.

To that end, Bill C-24:

  • provides a clearer indication that the “residence” period to qualify for citizenship in fact requires a physical presence in Canada;
  • requires applicants to meet more stringent language requirements and pass a knowledge test;
  • includes provisions that will help individuals with strong ties to Canada, such as by automatically extending citizenship to additional “Lost Canadians” who were born before 1947 (or 1949 in Newfoundland) as well as to their children born in the first generation outside Canada; and
  • recognizes the important contributions of those who have served Canada in uniform—and those who currently serve—by providing quicker access to citizenship, including allowing Canadian parents living abroad as servants of the Crown to pass on Canadian citizenship to children they have or adopt outside Canada.

Quick facts

  • The ability to communicate effectively in either French or English is a key factor in the success of newcomers to Canada. This has been borne out in a number of studies looking at the connection between language ability and successful integration into Canadian society.
  • As a result of changes proposed in Bill C-24, applicants will need to be physically present in Canada for a total of four out of their last six years. In addition, they would need to be physically present in Canada for 183 days per year for at least four of those six years.
  • Proposed changes to the Citizenship Act would require applicants to file Canadian income taxes, if required under the Income Tax Act, in order to be eligible to apply for citizenship.

“The government’s changes to the Citizenship Act reinforce the message that Canadian citizenship is valued around the globe and comes with duties and rights, privileges and responsibilities. These improvements to the Act will help ensure that new Canadians have a stronger attachment to Canada and will fully embrace Canadian values and traditions.”
Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister