Operational Bulletin 184 – February 8, 2010

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Guidelines for Writing Part 2 Refusal Letters for Citizenship Adoption Application

Issue

A greater number of refused citizenship adoption applications are being sent back for redetermination – not because an incorrect decision has been made – but rather because of the content of the refusal letter itself.

Background

Citizenship legislation changed in December 2007 to allow Canadian parents who adopt outside Canada to obtain citizenship for their adoptee without first having to obtain permanent resident status.

When an officer makes the decision to refuse a citizenship adoption application, a letter is sent to the parent(s) of the adoptee (or directly to the adoptee, in cases of adult adoptions), informing them of the decision and the reasons for the decision.

Below are recommendations to assist officers in writing refusal letters for citizenship adoption applications. Sample refusal letters can be found in the attached Appendices.

Do not base refusals on regulations

Unlike the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR), Citizenship Regulations cannot be used as reasons for refusing a citizenship application. The Citizenship Regulations provide officers with factors for consideration in determining whether the requirements of the Citizenship Act have been met. However, failure to satisfy regulatory factors for consideration cannot be the basis of a decision.

The approval or refusal of an application must be based on the legislative requirements of the Citizenship Act. The reasons for a refusal must be clearly explained to the applicant in a refusal letter. Officers may incorporate their assessment of the regulatory factors into the refusal letter as long as those factors are clearly linked to the legislative requirements of the Act that have not been met.

Do not use IRPA/IRPR terminology in a citizenship application refusal

While the requirements for adoption under the Citizenship Act are similar to the requirements for an adoption under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), officers must ensure that they are using the correct terminology. IRPA/IRPR terminology and definitions may not be used when writing a refusal letter for an application made under the Citizenship Act.

For example, IRPR clause 117(1)(g)(iii)(A) states that a person must be placed for adoption in the country in which they reside or is otherwise legally available in that country for adoption. This requirement does not appear in the Citizenship Act, which in paragraphs 5.1(1)(c) and 5.1(2)(b) requires that the adoption be in accordance with the laws of the place where the adoption took place, which, in some circumstances, may be within Canada.

Ensure accuracy in citing the Act

All references to the Regulations and to the Act must be clearly and accurately cited. A few cases have been returned for redetermination because the officer made a typing error when citing sections of the Act. Citing the correct section  of the Act in refusal letters is extremely important. When using the sample refusal letters, be sure to use the correct one for the case at hand.

  • If the adoptee was under the age of 18 when the adoption took place and was not destined to the province of Quebec, subsection 5.1(1) of the Citizenship Act should be cited. paragraphs (a) through (d) outline the requirements.
  • If the adoptee was 18 years of age or older when the adoption took place and was not destined to the province of Quebec, Subsection 5.1(2) of the Citizenship Act should be cited. paragraphs (a) and (b) outline the requirements.
  • If the adoptee is destined to the province of Quebec (regardless of age), Subsection 5.1(3) of the Citizenship Act should be cited. paragraphs (a) and (b) outline the requirements.

As stated above, an assessment of the regulatory factors in the refusal letter must always be clearly linked to the relevant legislative requirements of the Act that have not been met.

Adoptions under Subsection 5.1(3) of the Citizenship Act (adoptees destined to the province of Quebec) do not have associated regulations which specify the factors that need to be considered. The associated Regulations only specify what must be submitted with the application (e.g. evidence of citizenship of the adopting parent, evidence of the date and place of birth, etc.). But unlike the regulations associated with subsections 5.1(1) and 5.1(2) of the Act, subsection 5.1(3) does not specify factors for informed consent by the birth parent(s) or the severance of the pre-existing legal parent-child relationship, etc.

For more information on determining whether the pre-existing legal parent-child relationship has been permanently severed by the adoption, see Operational Bulletin 183 (Supplementary policy guidance on assessing the severing of a pre-existing legal parent-child relationship for grants of citizenship under A5.1(1) or A5.1(2)).

The relevant sections of the Regulations include:

  • Section 5.1 of the Citizenship Regulations, which applies to applications made under subsection 5.1(1) of the Citizenship Act when the applicant is under 18;
  • Section 5.2 of the Citizenship Regulations, which applies to applications made under subsection 5.1(1) of the Citizenship Act when the applicant is 18 or over at the time of the application, but was under 18 at the time of the adoption;
  • Section 5.3 of the Citizenship Regulations, which applies to applications made under subsection 5.1(2) of the Citizenship Act;
  • Section 5.4 of the Citizenship Regulations, which applies to applications made under subsection 5.1(3) of the Citizenship Act when the applicant is under 18; and
  • Section 5.5 of the Citizenship Regulations, which applies to applications made under subsection 5.1(3) of the Citizenship Act when the applicant is 18 or over at the time of the application.

Appendix A

TEMPLATE REFUSAL LETTER FOR 5.1(1) (Applicant is under 18)

This template letter should be used for applications made under subsection 5.1(1) of the Citizenship Act:

  • Adoptee was under the age of 18 at time of adoption;
  • Adoptee is under the age of 18 at the time the application is submitted;
  • Adoptee is not destined for the province of Quebec.

File Number:

[Insert Address]

Date:

Dear [Client]:

I have completed the assessment of your child’s Application for Canadian citizenship for a person adopted by a Canadian citizen (on or after January 1, 1947). This letter is to inform you that your child’s application has been refused for the following reasons.

If an interview took place:

You [and, if applicable, [Name of child being adopted]] were present in this office on [date] and were interviewed by me. During your interview, you provided me with the following details which I considered before making my decision:

[Insert applicable information provided]

 

If an interview did not take place:

I wrote to you on [date] requesting that you provide the following information: [Insert information requested]. It was explained that the information was needed in order to make a decision.

[Since you have not responded to my request, I must make a decision based on the information before me].

OR

[I have received the information provided by you on [date] by [email/fax/letter]].

Section 5.1 of the Citizenship Act defines who is entitled to a grant of Canadian citizenship. Specifically, subsection 5.1(1) states:

“Subject to subsection (3), the Minister shall on application grant citizenship to a person who was adopted by a citizen on or after January 1, 1947 while the person was a minor child if the adoption

(a) was in the best interests of the child;

(b) created a genuine relationship of parent and child;

(c) was in accordance with the laws of the place where the adoption took place and the laws of the country of residence of the adopting citizen; and

(d) was not entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring a status or privilege in relation to immigration or citizenship.”

Based on the information you have provided [add if applicable: and during the interview] your child does not meet the requirements of paragraph(s) [quote relevant paragraph(s): 5.1(1)(a), 5.1(1)(b), 5.1(1)(c), or 5.1(1)(d)] of the Citizenship Act. In coming to this decision I considered all of the evidence and the factors set out in subsection 5.1(3) [specify relevant paragraphs (a), (b) or (c)] of the Citizenship Regulations.

[Fully explain why the application does not meet the requirements of the Act. Officers may refer to the relevant Regulations in their explanations. See the examples below.]

EXAMPLES:

I am not satisfied that the adoption was not entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring a status or privilege in relation to immigration or citizenship. For example, the evidence indicates that…

I am not satisfied that the adoption has created a genuine relationship of parent and child. For example, the evidence indicates that the pre-existing legal parent-child relationship has not been permanently severed by the adoption. During the interview, XXXXX provided me with the following details…

I am not satisfied that the adoption was in accordance with the laws of [Country where the adoption took place – note that in some cases it may be a Canadian province/territory]. For example: I have not received a letter from [Country’s] Central Adoption Resource Authority which indicates that it approves the adoption as conforming to the Hague Convention on Adoption.

I am not satisfied that the adoption was in accordance with the laws of [Country of residence of the adopting parent – if adopting parent is resident in Canada, state the province/territory]. For example: I have not received a letter from the province of XXX which states that they do not object to the adoption…

I am not satisfied that the adoption is in XXXXX’s best interests. For example…

I also note that there were discrepancies in the evidence, such as…

As a result, you have failed to establish that your child meets the requirements for a grant of Canadian citizenship and this application has been refused.

If you wish to challenge the decision to refuse a grant of citizenship, you may make an application for judicial review, which must be filed with the Federal Court. Please note that the deadline for filing an application for judicial review is 30 days from the date the refusal decision was communicated to you.

For more information regarding this process you can contact your legal counsel or the Federal Court at:

Federal Court
c/o Supreme Court of Canada Building
Kent and Wellington Streets
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 9H9

General inquiries: (613) 992-4238

Sincerely,
[Decision-making officer’s name]


Appendix B

TEMPLATE REFUSAL LETTER FOR 5.1(1) (Applicant is 18 or over)

This template letter should be used for applications made under subsection 5.1(1) of the Citizenship Act:

  • Adoptee was under the age of 18 at time of adoption;
  • Adoptee is 18 years of age or older at the time the application is submitted;
  • Adoptee is not destined for the province of Quebec.

File Number:

[Insert Address]

Date:

Dear [Client]:

I have completed the assessment of your Application for Canadian citizenship for a person adopted by a Canadian citizen (on or after January 1, 1947). This letter is to inform you that your application has been refused for the following reasons.

If an interview took place:

You [and, if applicable, [Name of adoptive parent]] were present in this office on [date] and were interviewed by me. During your interview, you provided me with the following details which I considered before making my decision:

[Insert applicable information provided]

 

If an interview did not take place:

I wrote to you on [date] requesting that you provide the following information: [Insert information requested]. It was explained that the information was needed in order to make a decision.

[Since you have not responded to my request, I must make a decision based on the information before me].

OR

[I have received the information provided by you on [date] by [email/fax/letter]].


Section 5.1 of the Citizenship Act defines who is entitled to a grant of Canadian citizenship. Specifically, subsection 5.1 (1) states:

“Subject to subsection (3), the Minister shall, on application, grant citizenship to a person who was adopted by a citizen on or after January 1, 1947 while the person was a minor child if the adoption

(a) was in the best interests of the child;

(b) created a genuine relationship of parent and child;

(c) was in accordance with the laws of the place where the adoption took place and the laws of the country of residence of the adopting citizen; and

(d) was not entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring a status or privilege in relation to immigration or citizenship.”

Based on the information you have provided [add if applicable: and during the interview] you do not meet the requirements of paragraph(s) [quote relevant paragraph(s): 5.1(1)(a), 5.1(1)(b), 5.1(1)(c), or 5.1(1)(d)] of the Citizenship Act. In coming to this decision I considered all of the evidence and the factors set out in subsection 5.2(3) [specify relevant paragraph (a), (b) or (c)] of the Citizenship Regulations.

[Fully explain why the application does not meet the requirements of the Act. Officers may refer to the relevant Regulations in their explanations. See the examples below.]

EXAMPLES:

I am not satisfied that the adoption was not entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring a status or privilege in relation to immigration or citizenship. For example, the evidence indicates that…

I am not satisfied that the adoption has created a genuine relationship of parent and child. For example, the evidence indicates that the pre-existing legal parent-child relationship has not been permanently severed by the adoption. During the interview, XXXXX provided me with the following details…

I am not satisfied that the adoption was in accordance with the laws of [Country where the adoption took place – note that in some cases it may be a Canadian province/territory]. For example: I have not received a letter from [Country’s] Central Adoption Resource Authority which indicates that it approves the adoption as conforming to the Hague Convention on Adoption.

I am not satisfied that the adoption was in accordance with the laws of the [country/province/territory] of residence of the adopting citizen, [Country of residence of the adopting parent – if adopting parent is resident in Canada, state the province/territory]. For example: I have not received a letter from the province of XXX which states that they do not object to the adoption…

I am not satisfied that the adoption is in XXXXX’s best interests. For example…

I also note that there were discrepancies in the evidence, such as…

As a result, you have failed to establish that you meet the requirements for a grant of Canadian citizenship and this application has been refused.

If you wish to challenge the decision to refuse a grant of citizenship, you may make an application for judicial review which must be filed with the Federal Court. Please note that the deadline for filing an application for judicial review is 30 days from the date the refusal decision was communicated to you.

For more information regarding this process, you can contact your legal counsel or the Federal Court at:

Federal Court
c/o Supreme Court of Canada Building
Kent and Wellington Streets
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 9H9

General inquiries: (613) 992-4238

Sincerely,
[Decision-making officer’s name]


Appendix C

TEMPLATE REFUSAL LETTER FOR 5.1(2)

This template letter should be used for applications made under subsection 5.1(2) of the Citizenship Act:

  • Adoptee was aged 18 or over at time of adoption;
  • Adoptee is not destined for the province of Quebec.

File Number:

[Insert Address]

Date:

Dear [Client]:

I have completed the assessment of your Application for Canadian citizenship for a person adopted by a Canadian citizen (on or after January 1, 1947). This letter is to inform you that your application has been refused for the following reasons.

If an interview took place:

You [and, if applicable, [Name of adoptive parent]] were present in this office on [date] and were interviewed by me. During your interview, you provided me with the following details which I considered before making my decision:

[Insert applicable information provided]

 

If an interview did not take place:

I wrote to you on [date] requesting that you provide the following information: [Insert information requested]. It was explained that the information was needed in order to make a decision.

[Since you have not responded to my request, I must make a decision based on the information before me].

OR

[I have received the information provided by you on [date] by [email/fax/letter]].


Section 5.1 of the Citizenship Act defines who is entitled to a grant of Canadian citizenship. Specifically, subsection 5.1(2) states:

“Subject to subsection (3), the Minister shall on application grant citizenship to a person who was adopted by a citizen on or after January 1, 1947 while the person was at least 18 years of age if

(a) there was a genuine relationship of parent and child between the person and the adoptive parent before the person attained the age of 18 years and at the time of the adoption; and

(b) the adoption meets the requirements set out in paragraphs (1)(c) and (d):

(1)(c) was in accordance with the laws of the place where the adoption took place and the laws of the country of residence of the adopting citizen; and

(1)(d) was not entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring a status or privilege in relation to immigration or citizenship.”

Based on the information provided in your application [add if applicable: and during the interview] you do not meet the requirements of paragraph(s) [quote relevant paragraph(s): 5.1(2)(a), 5.1(2)(b). If quoting 5.1(2)(b), also specify which paragraph of 5.1(1)(c) and/or 5.1(1)(d) is not met] of the Citizenship Act. In coming to this decision I considered all of the evidence and the factors set out in subsection 5.3(3) [Specify paragraphs (a) or (b)] of the Citizenship Regulations.

[Fully explain why the application does not meet the requirements of the Act. Officers may refer to the relevant Regulations in their explanations. See the examples below.]

EXAMPLES:

I am not satisfied that the adoption was not entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring a status or privilege in relation to immigration or citizenship. For example, the evidence indicates that…

I am not satisfied that the adoption has created a genuine relationship of parent and child. For example, the evidence indicates that the pre-existing legal parent-child relationship has not been permanently severed by the adoption. During the interview, XXXXX provided me with the following details…

I am not satisfied that the adoption was in accordance with the laws of [Country where the adoption took place – note that in some cases it may be a Canadian province/territory]. For example: I have not received a letter from [Country’s] Central Adoption Resource Authority which indicates that it approves the adoption as conforming to the Hague Convention on Adoption.

I am not satisfied that the adoption was in accordance with the laws of [Country of residence of the adopting parent – if adopting parent is resident in Canada, state the province/territory]. For example: I have not received a letter from the province of XXX which states that they do not object to the adoption…

I also note that there were discrepancies in the evidence, such as…

As a result, you have failed to establish that you meet the requirements for a grant of Canadian citizenship and your application has been refused.

If you wish to challenge the decision to refuse a grant of citizenship, you may make an application for judicial review, which must be filed with the Federal Court. Please note that the deadline for filing an application for judicial review is 30 days from the date the refusal decision was communicated to you.

For more information regarding this process you can contact your legal counsel or the Federal Court at:

Federal Court
c/o Supreme Court of Canada Building
Kent and Wellington Streets
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 9H9

General inquiries: (613) 992-4238

Sincerely,
[Decision-making officer’s name]


Appendix D

TEMPLATE REFUSAL LETTER FOR 5.1(3) (Applicant is under 18)

This template letter should be used for applications made under subsection 5.1(3) of the Citizenship Act:

  • Adoptee is destined for the province of Quebec;
  • Adoptee is under the age of 18 at the time the application is submitted.

File Number:

[Insert Address]

Date:

Dear [Client]:

I have completed the assessment of your child’s Application for Canadian citizenship for a person adopted by a Canadian citizen (on or after January 1, 1947). This letter is to inform you that your child’s application has been refused for the following reasons.

If an interview took place:

You [and, if applicable, [Name of child being adopted]] were present in this office on [date] and were interviewed by me. During your interview, you provided me with the following details which I considered before making my decision:

[Insert applicable information provided]

 

If an interview did not take place:

I wrote to you on [date] requesting that you provide the following information: [Insert information requested]. It was explained that the information was needed in order to make a decision.

[Since you have not responded to my request, I must make a decision based on the information before me].

OR

[I have received the information provided by you on [date] by [email/fax/letter]].


Section 5.1 of the Citizenship Act defines who is entitled to a grant Canadian citizenship. Specifically, subsection 5.1 (3) states:

“Subject to subsection (3), the Minister shall on application grant citizenship to a person in respect of whose adoption – by a citizen who is subject to Quebec law governing adoptions – a decision was made abroad on or after January 1, 1947 if

(a) the Quebec authority responsible for international adoptions advises, in writing, that in its opinion the adoption meets the requirements of Quebec law governing adoptions; and

(b) the adoption was not entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring a status or privilege in relation to immigration or citizenship.”

Based on the information you have provided [add if applicable: and during the interview] your child does not meet the requirements of section(s) [quote relevant paragraphs(s): 5.1(3)(a) and/or 5.1(3)(b)] of the Citizenship Act.

[Fully explain why the application does not meet the requirements of the Act. See the examples below.]

EXAMPLES:

The Quebec authority responsible for international adoption has not advised that in its opinion that the adoption meets the requirements of Quebec law governing adoptions.

I am not satisfied that the adoption was not entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring a status or privilege in relation to immigration or citizenship. For example: the evidence indicates that… During the interview, XXXXX provided me with the following details…

I also note that there were discrepancies in the evidence, such as…

As a result, you have failed to establish that your child meets the requirements for a grant of Canadian citizenship and your application has been refused.

If you wish to challenge the decision to refuse a grant of citizenship, you may make an application for judicial review, which must be filed with the Federal Court. Please note that the deadline for filing an application for judicial review is 30 days from the date the refusal decision was communicated to you.

For more information regarding this process you can contact your legal counsel or the Federal Court at:

Federal Court
c/o Supreme Court of Canada Building
Kent and Wellington Streets
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 9H9

General inquiries: (613) 992-4238

Sincerely,
[Decision-making officer’s name]


Appendix E

TEMPLATE REFUSAL LETTER FOR 5.1(3) (Applicant is 18 or over)

This template letter should be used for applications made under subsection 5.1(3) of the Citizenship Act:

  • Adoptee is destined for the province of Quebec;
  • Adoptee is 18 years of age or older at the time the application is submitted.

File Number:

[Insert Address]

Date:

Dear [Client]:

I have completed the assessment of your Application for Canadian citizenship for a person adopted by a Canadian citizen (on or after January 1, 1947). This letter is to inform you that your application has been refused for the following reasons.

If an interview took place:

You [and, if applicable, [Name of adoptive parent]] were present in this office on [Date] and were interviewed by me. During your interview, you provided me with the following details which I considered before making my decision:

[Insert applicable information provided]

 

If an interview did not take place:

I wrote to you on [Date] requesting that you provide the following information: [Insert information requested]. It was explained that the information was needed in order to make a decision.

[Since you have not responded to my request, I must make a decision based on the information before me].

OR

[I have received the information provided by you on [date] by [email/fax/letter]].

Section 5.1 of the Citizenship Act defines who is entitled to a grant of Canadian citizenship.

Specifically, subsection 5.1 (3) states:

“Subject to subsection (3), the Minister shall on application grant citizenship to a person in respect of whose adoption – by a citizen who is subject to Quebec law governing adoptions – a decision was made abroad on or after January 1, 1947 if

(a) the Quebec authority responsible for international adoptions advises, in writing, that in its opinion the adoption meets the requirements of Quebec law governing adoptions; and

(b) the adoption was not entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring a status or privilege in relation to immigration or citizenship”

Based on the information provided in your application [Add if applicable: and during the interview] you do not meet the requirements of paragraph(s) [Quote relevant paragraphs(s): 5.1(3)(a) and/or 5.1(3)(b)] of the Citizenship Act.

[Fully explain why the application does not meet the requirements of the Act. See the examples below.]

EXAMPLES:

The Quebec authority responsible for international adoption has not advised that in its opinion that the adoption meets the requirements of Quebec law governing adoptions.

I am not satisfied that the adoption was not entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring a status or privilege in relation to immigration or citizenship. For example: the evidence indicates that… During the interview, XXXXX provided me with the following details…

I also note that there were discrepancies in the evidence, such as…

As a result, you have failed to establish that you meet the requirements for a grant of Canadian citizenship and therefore, your application has been refused.

If you wish to challenge the decision to refuse a grant of citizenship, you may make an application for judicial review, which must be filed with the Federal Court. Please note that the deadline for filing an application for judicial review is 30 days from the date the refusal decision was communicated to you.

For more information regarding this process you can contact your legal counsel or the Federal Court at:

Federal Court
c/o Supreme Court of Canada Building
Kent and Wellington Streets
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 9H9

General inquiries: (613) 992-4238

Sincerely,
[Decision-making officer’s name]

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