Eligibility for Canadian citizenship is based on certain criteria, including being born outside of Canada with at least one biological or legal parent who was a Canadian citizen at the time of the individual’s birth. However, Canada restricts citizenship by descent to the first generation born outside of Canada to a Canadian parent.

Since its inception in 1947, the Canadian Citizenship Act has undergone multiple amendments. Initially, the Act allowed Canadian parents to pass citizenship to their children born outside of Canada across successive generations, provided that the foreign-born descendants registered with the government within a specific timeframe.

In 2009, a significant change known as the second-generation cut-off was introduced. This amendment was implemented to discourage the concept of “Canadians of convenience,” as stated by the then-immigration minister, Diane Finley. Its purpose was to ensure that citizens have a genuine connection to Canada. Consequently, citizenship transmission by descent was limited to only the first generation born abroad, emphasizing the importance of a tangible link between individuals and the country.

By understanding the provisions of the Canadian Citizenship Act and its historical evolution, we gain insights into the rationale behind the second-generation cut-off rule and its role in fostering a meaningful connection between citizens and Canada.

The Current Lawsuit

A current lawsuit involves 23 individuals from seven families who are challenging the second-generation cut-off rule introduced in 2009. They argue that this rule discriminates based on birthplace, violates mobility and liberty rights, and disproportionately disadvantages women who had to give birth outside Canada due to circumstances beyond their control. The Ontario Superior Court of Justice is tasked with determining whether Canada violates the Charter by limiting the transmission of citizenship by descent to only the first generation born abroad.

The families involved in the lawsuit, as reported by the Toronto Star, contend that the government’s stance oversimplifies the complex realities surrounding the choices they faced, such as access to healthcare, healthcare costs, travel risks, loss of employment and income, and hindrances to career advancement.

The initial justification provided by Minister Finley for the second-generation cut-off was to address concerns regarding “Canadians of convenience” who lacked a genuine connection to Canada and sought citizenship solely to preserve the option of living in the country. However, the applicants in the lawsuit are not Canadians of convenience. They returned to Canada as young children and spent their formative years in the country, according to Sujit Choudry, legal counsel for the families.

While Canadians born in Canada and naturalized Canadians can pass their citizenship to their children born abroad, Canadians born abroad by descent are unable to do so. The families’ legal counsel argues that this distinction is arbitrary and represents a clear form of discrimination.

How to Apply for Proof of Citizenship?

To obtain proof of Canadian citizenship, you need to follow the official process established by the Canadian government. This involves applying for a “proof of Canadian citizenship” or a Canadian citizenship certificate, which is issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Along with a Canadian birth certificate, the citizenship certificate is one of the two accepted documents for proving Canadian citizenship when dealing with Passport Canada.

You have the flexibility to apply for a Canadian citizenship certificate at any point in your life, regardless of whether your Canadian parent is alive or deceased. To initiate the application, you will need to download the application package provided on IRCC’s website. As part of the application, you will be required to provide evidence that one of your legal or biological parents at the time of your birth was a Canadian citizen.

The application can be submitted conveniently online through IRCC’s website. Once your application is received, you will receive an “acknowledgement of receipt” confirming that your application has been received. Your application will then undergo review and processing by the relevant authorities at IRCC.

Remember, when dealing with matters as crucial as Canadian citizenship and immigration, it is vital to have a trusted legal partner by your side. Brace Laws can be that trusted partner, offering professional consultation and services to help you navigate the complexities and achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

Take the necessary steps today and schedule a consultation with Brace Law to ensure your rights are protected and to maximize your chances of success in challenging the second-generation cut-off rule or any other immigration-related issues you may be facing. We serve our clients in English, Italian, Albanian, Arabic, Punjabi, Farsi, Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil and Urdu with offices in Oakville and Vaughan. Call us at 905-815-6555 or email admin@bracelaw.ca. We can help! We Offer Consultations & Meetings by Phone & Virtually. Affordable Fees.