Program delivery update – June 11, 2015
Coming into force of new elements of the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act
On June 19, 2014, Bill C-24 received royal assent and the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act (SCCA) became law. While some reforms came into force in 2014, many of the changes included in the SCCA required additional legislative action before they could come into force. The final group of reforms comes into force today, June 11, 2015, and includes the following:
- new definition of the residence requirement as physical presence in Canada for at least 1460 days (four years) during the six years before the date of application for adult applicants (additionally, applicants must demonstrate physical presence in Canada for at least 183 days in a minimum of four calendar years in the qualifying period);
- new requirement for adult applicants to declare their intent to reside in Canada once they become citizens and meet their personal income tax obligations;
- expansion of the age range to 14 to 64 years of age for applicants who must meet language and knowledge requirements;
- extension of citizenship to additional “Lost Canadians” who were born before 1947 but did not become citizens on January 1, 1947, when the first Canadian Citizenship Act came into effect (this will also apply to their children born in the first generation outside of Canada);
- stronger penalties for fraud and misrepresentation (now a maximum fine of $100 000 and/or up to five years in prison);
- designation of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) as the new regulatory body for citizenship consultants (only members of the ICCRC, lawyers or notaries can now be paid to provide citizenship applicants with representation or advice).
Instructions are currently being updated. A message box can be found at the top of the pages that have not yet been updated. All instructions will be updated by June 30. Officers should refer to instructions provided by the Citizenship Program Delivery Division until all new or updated instructions are posted.
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