Delegation of authority under the Citizenship Act and Citizenship Regulations

A ministerial delegation, in the context of the Citizenship Act and Citizenship Regulations, is the written authorization by the Minister of any person to carry out anything that may be done by the Minister under this Act or its Regulations. For the most part, every time the word “Minister” is found in the Act or Regulations, there are, associated to those references, authorities capable of being delegated. There are some powers, such as those specified under section 15 of the Regulations, that the Minister has not delegated. See the following link for the Citizenship Instrument of Delegation (CID).

The term “citizenship officer” is defined in the Regulations as follows:

citizenship officer means a person who is authorized by the Minister in writing to perform the duties of a citizenship officer prescribed by these Regulations”

For the purpose of the delegation instrument, “citizenship officer” is a generic term and regroups various positions in the Citizenship and Passport Program Guidance Branch, the Case Management Branch, the Centralized Network and the Domestic Network.

There is a delegation process for citizenship officers, which involves training and examination followed by individual written delegation by the Registrar. This process is not a legal requirement of the Act and Regulations, but an administrative process put in place by the Registrar to ensure that persons fulfilling the role of citizenship officer have the necessary training and expertise to fulfil their delegated authorities.

Some authorities are delegated to individuals at a higher level than citizenship officer. The higher level delegation is generally reflective of the complexity or impact of the decision to be taken on the Minister’s behalf. By way of example, subsection 19(2) of the Act states that “[t]he Minister may make a report to the Review Committee if the Minister is of the opinion that a person should not be granted citizenship under section 5 or subsection 11(1) or administered the oath of citizenship or be issued a certificate of renunciation under section 9 because there are reasonable grounds to believe that the person has engaged, is engaging or may engage in activity...”. In item 29, this authority has been delegated to the Deputy Minister.

In the preamble of the CID, delegation to officials who are required to temporarily replace a citizenship officer is also included if they have been delegated by the Registrar.

The preamble of the CID also includes a hierarchical link notion, which means only the lowest level of authority has to be included in the document. Every position above this one (with a direct or indirect hierarchical link) has the same authority. However, in order to ensure consistent and high-quality decision-making by higher level authorities who have not already been delegated by the Registrar, approval of the Registrar is required prior to performance of duty. It means that the authority delegated to the citizenship officer in item 3 can be carried out by an official of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration who has direct or indirect supervisory responsibility, as long as they are either already delegated or receive official approval from the Registrar ahead of time.

The attribution of an authority to a position does not in and of itself mean that such authority must be exercised; the exercise of an authority can reflect operational needs. However, if the authority in question is a duty, it must be exercised one way or another, regardless.

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