Changes to the Citizenship Act as a Result of Bill C-6

Backgrounder

Bill C-6, an Act to amend the Citizenship Act and make consequential amendments to another Act, received Royal Assent on June 19, 2017. This chart explains the changes that have been made to the Citizenship Act and indicates when these changes are expected to come into force.



Changes that took effect immediately upon Royal Assent on June 19, 2017
Previous Citizenship Act Citizenship Act with Bill C-6 Amendments
Citizenship could be revoked from dual citizens convicted of treason, spying and terrorism offences, depending on the sentence received, or who were a part of an armed force of a country or organized group engaged in conflict with Canada. This provision is repealed. Dual citizens living in Canada who are convicted of these crimes will face the Canadian justice system, like other Canadian citizens who break the law.
Applicants were required to intend to continue to live in Canada if granted citizenship. This provision is repealed. Applicants are no longer required to intend to continue to live in Canada once granted citizenship. This removes concerns from new Canadians who may need to live outside of Canada for work or personal reasons.
The Minister had the discretion to waive certain requirements under subsection 5(1) of the Citizenship Act so a minor could obtain citizenship without a Canadian parent. It is now easier for minors to apply for citizenship without a Canadian parent, as the age requirement for citizenship has been removed under subsection 5(1). A person having custody of the minor or empowered to act on their behalf by court order, written agreement or operation of law, can now apply for citizenship on behalf of the minor, unless that requirement is waived by the Minister.
No provision existed to prevent individuals serving a sentence in the community (a conditional sentence order) from being granted citizenship, taking the Oath of Citizenship or counting this time towards meeting the physical presence requirements for citizenship. Individuals serving a conditional sentence will not be granted citizenship, take the Oath of Citizenship, or be able to count this time towards meeting the physical presence requirements for citizenship.
The Minister has the discretion to grant citizenship to a person to alleviate cases of special and unusual hardship, or to reward services of an exceptional value to Canada. Statelessness has been added as a ground that can be considered for a discretionary grant of citizenship.
The department had reasonable measures to accommodate the needs of citizenship applicants. However, there was no explicit reference to accommodate persons with disabilities in the Citizenship Act. The requirement to take into consideration reasonable measures to accommodate the needs of a citizenship applicant who is a disabled person is now included in the Citizenship Act.
The requirement for applicants to maintain the requirements for citizenship from the time they apply for citizenship until taking the Oath of Citizenship only applied to applications received on or after June 11, 2015. This requirement now applies to all applications, including those received before June 11, 2015.
Changes to take effect as of October 11, 2017
Previous Citizenship Act Citizenship Act with Bill C-6 Amendments
Applicants had to be physically present in Canada for four out of six years, with a minimum of 183 days in each of the four years, before applying for citizenship. Applicants must be physically present in Canada for three out of the last five years (1095 days), with no minimum number of days per year, before applying for citizenship.
Applicants had to file Canadian income taxes, if required to do so under the Income Tax Act, for four out of six years, matching the physical presence requirement. Applicants must file Canadian income taxes, if required to do so under the Income Tax Act, for three out of five years, matching the new physical presence requirement.
Time spent in Canada prior to becoming a permanent resident did not count towards the physical presence requirement for citizenship. Applicants may count each day they were physically present in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person, before becoming a permanent resident, as a half-day toward meeting the physical presence requirement for citizenship, up to a maximum credit of 365 days, within five years preceding the date of application.
Applicants between 14 and 64 years had to meet the language and knowledge requirements for citizenship. Applicants between 18 and 54 years must meet the language and knowledge requirements for citizenship.
Changes expected to take effect in late 2017 and 2018
Previous Citizenship Act Citizenship Act with Bill C-6 Amendments
The Minister was the decision-maker for most cases of citizenship revocation on the grounds of false representation, fraud, or knowingly concealing material circumstances. The Federal Court was the decision-maker for citizenship revocation cases involving false representation, fraud, or knowingly concealing material circumstances related to security, human or international right violations, and organized criminality. The Federal Court is the decision-maker in all revocation cases, unless the individual requests that the Minister make the decision.
There was no clear authority for citizenship officers to seize fraudulent or suspected fraudulent documents provided under the Citizenship Act. Clear authority for citizenship officers to seize fraudulent or suspected fraudulent documents is provided under the Citizenship Act.

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