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Canada Proposes Law to Extend Citizenship by Descent and Restore “Lost Canadians”

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Canada Proposes Law to Extend Citizenship by Descent and Restore "Lost Canadians"

In a move aimed at broadening the scope of Canadian citizenship, the Government of Canada has introduced Bill C-71, which seeks to extend citizenship beyond the first generation born abroad to Canadian parents. The proposed legislation, introduced on May 23, 2024, by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), also aims to restore citizenship to those who have been classified as “Lost Canadians” and their descendants.

Under the proposed changes, children born abroad to Canadian parents would automatically acquire Canadian citizenship. This would also apply to children adopted abroad by Canadian parents. However, there is a caveat – at least one of the Canadian parents must have resided in Canada for a minimum of 1,095 days (approximately three years) before the child’s birth or adoption to pass on citizenship.

The bill’s provisions extend beyond the traditional parent-child relationship. It also seeks to restore citizenship to “Lost Canadians” – individuals who have been denied or stripped of their Canadian citizenship due to outdated and discriminatory laws. This includes individuals born abroad to a Canadian parent in the second or subsequent generations, who were previously ineligible for citizenship under the existing regulations.

The introduction of Bill C-71 is a significant step towards addressing longstanding concerns regarding citizenship transmission and ensuring that Canadian citizenship is more inclusive and equitable. By granting citizenship by descent, the proposed law recognizes the intrinsic connection between children born abroad and their Canadian roots, fostering a sense of belonging and national identity.

Additionally, the restoration of citizenship to “Lost Canadians” and their descendants aims to rectify historical injustices and provide a pathway for those who have been denied their rightful citizenship due to discriminatory policies of the past.

As the legislative process unfolds, stakeholders and advocacy groups are expected to engage in discussions and debates surrounding the proposed changes. The government’s initiative has been welcomed by many as a progressive move that aligns with Canada’s values of diversity, inclusion, and equal opportunity.

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