Are you planning to attain Canadian citizenship, however, you were born in a foreign land to Canadian citizens? If yes, then you must be thinking about whether you’re eligible for Canadian citizenship by descent or not.
Mostly, an individual is eligible for Canadian citizenship by descent if one of their parents is a Canadian citizen at the time of the birth, even if they are born outside of Canada. Though, Canada confines citizenship by descent to the first generation born in a foreign land to Canadian parents.
The Canadian Citizenship Act has been revised a lot many times since its inception in 1947. Earlier, Canadian parents were not allowed to pass citizenship to their children born outside of Canada for indefinite generations, as long as foreign-born descendants registered with the federal government by a certain age.
Nevertheless, in 2009, the government passed a second-generation cut-off for Canadians born abroad. The immigration minister at the time, Diane Finley, specified that the amendment was made to avoid “Canadians of convenience” by making sure that citizens have a real connection to Canada.
The Current Lawsuit
A recent lawsuit involving 23 individuals from seven families is challenging the second-generation cut-off rule introduced in 2009. The families claim that the rule discriminates based on birthplace, violates mobility and liberty rights, and disproportionately disadvantages women who have to give birth outside Canada due to circumstances beyond their control.
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice will regulate whether the federal government is violating the Agreement by limiting the approval of citizenship by descent to the first generation born abroad only.
According to a popular publication, the families involved argue that the government’s position “oversimplifies the complex actuality of the many moving parts of these choices, such as access to healthcare, cost of healthcare, risks of travel, loss of job and income, and risk to career advancement.”
Whilst people born in Canada and naturalized Canadians can forward their citizenship to their children born abroad, Canadians born abroad by descent cannot. Counsel for the families claims that this is a subjective dissimilarity and the embodiment of discrimination.
Application of Proof of Citizenship
If you are not sure whether you’re a Canadian citizen by descent and looking to obtain proof of citizenship, then you must apply for a “proof of Canadian citizenship” certificate. This certificate is issued by IRCC, along with a Canadian birth certificate, and is one of the two documents which are accepted by Passport Canada as proof of citizenship.
One can easily apply for a Canadian citizenship certificate anytime, there is no specific age requirement. For the application of the same, one needs to follow the requirement process mentioned on the official IRCC website. Upon receiving the application, it will be thoroughly reviewed and processed and then one will receive an “acknowledgment of receipt” from IRCC.
While the second-generation cut-off rule for Canadian citizenship might come across as unfair to a few people, it is currently in place and being challenged in a court of law. If you are not sure whether you are a Canadian citizen by descent, you can simply apply to IRCC for proof of citizenship.