April 20, 2008

Legislation to restore citizenship to lost canadians passes

Ottawa, April 16, 2008 — The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, today welcomed the formal passage of Bill C-37, taking “lost Canadians” one giant step closer to enjoying Canadian citizenship.

“Today is a very special day for Canada with the passage of this legislation,” said Minister Finley. “By introducing this legislation last year, our Government took decisive action to help those people who had their citizenship questioned, and to protect the value of Canadian citizenship for the future.”

With the third-reading passage of Bill C-37 in the Senate today, the Citizenship Act will be amended to give Canadian citizenship to those who lost or never had it, due to outdated provisions in existing and former legislation. The law will come into effect no later than a year following Royal Assent.

People who are citizens when the law comes into force will not lose their citizenship as a result of these amendments. The law will give citizenship to:

  • People who became citizens when the first citizenship act took effect on January 1, 1947 (including people born in Canada prior to 1947 and war brides) and who then lost their citizenship;

  • Anyone who was born in Canada or became a Canadian on or after January 1, 1947, and who then lost citizenship; and

  • Anyone born abroad to a Canadian on or after January 1, 1947, if not already a citizen, but only if they are the first generation born abroad.

  • The exceptions are those born in Canada to a foreign diplomat, those who renounced their citizenship with Canadian authorities, and those whose citizenship was revoked by the government because it was obtained by fraud.

    “This law is a victory not just for those who lost their citizenship, but for all Canadians as well,” said Don Chapman, spokesperson for the Lost Canadians Organization.

    “This bill is wonderful news for those war brides and their children who will become citizens when this bill comes into effect. After all these years, I am very relieved that the law has been changed,” said Melynda Jarratt, historian for Canadian War Brides.[Source: CIC]