Canada strives to make citizenship more meaningful
Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced 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. The ability to communicate effectively in either French or English is a key factor in the success of newcomers to Canada.
• 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.
• 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,” said Alexander.
“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.”
Posted: Apr 1, 2014