When Bill C-24 was introduced members of ICIWG and PCLS recognized that this legislation exacerbated some of the existing barriers to the acquisition of citizenship for many new permanent residents and added new obstacles.
Since 1947 Canadian citizenship has been part of the process of building the Canadian nation, encouraging all residents of this country who live and work here, who pay their taxes and raise their families here, to become full members of the body politic. The Citizenship Act of 1985 stressed this welcoming and inclusive approach and as a result, Canada has had the highest rate of naturalization of new immigrants in any of the OECD countries. As noted by Elke Winter in her recent publication Becoming Canadian, “in 2005-06 the share of foreign-born residents aged 15 and older who had become Canadian citizens was 75 percent”.
We are greatly concerned by the proposed changes to the Canadian Citizenship Act as set out in Bill C-24. We believe that the changes will have a negative effect on many residents of Canada who are seeking to become Canadian citizens and who will be unduly disadvantaged by the proposed changes in the law. Rather than “strengthening” Canadian citizenship, these provisions will seriously weaken Canadian citizenship and our democracy. These proposed changes violate a long-standing principle of encouraging and fostering the successful integration of refugees and new immigrants in Canada. Should they be implemented, it will result in unequal and discriminatory treatment of immigrants and refugees, contrary to the principles of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Elke Winter, “Becoming Canadian: Making Sense of Recent Changes to Citizenship Rules” IRPP, Jan 16, 2014:
at page 3.
CLICK HERE TO READ A FULL .PDF VERSION OF THE ENTIRE SUBMISSION