Backgrounder Article from  Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

An Act to amend the Citizenship Act: A comparative view of proposed amendments

Current Citizenship Act

  • Authority to revoke citizenship for certain acts against the national interest of Canada. These grounds include convictions of terrorism, high treason, treason or spying offences, depending on the sentence received, or for membership in an armed force or organized armed group engaged in armed conflict with Canada.
    • Proposed Amendments: Repeal national interest grounds for revocation
    • Proposed Date for Coming into Force: At Royal Assent
  • Applicants must have the intention to reside in Canada if granted citizenship
    • Proposed Amendments: Repeal intent to reside provision
    • Proposed Date for Coming into Force: At Royal Assent
  • Physical presence for 4 out of 6 years before the date of application
    • Proposed Amendments: Physical presence for 3 out of 5 years before the date of application
    • Proposed Date for Coming into Force: At a date to be determined by the Governor in Council
  • Time spent in Canada as a non-permanent resident may not be counted.
    • Proposed Amendments: 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 of one year of credited time.
    • Proposed Date for Coming into Force: At a date to be determined by the Governor in Council
  • Minimum of 183 days physical presence in 4 of the last 6 years
    • Proposed Amendments: Repeal the minimum 183 days physical presence in 4 of the last 6 years.
    • Proposed Date for Coming into Force: At a date to be determined by the Governor in Council
  • Applicants aged 14-64 must meet language requirements and pass knowledge test
    • Proposed Amendments: Applicants aged 18-54 must meet language requirements and pass knowledge test.
    • Proposed Date for Coming into Force: At a date to be determined by the Governor in Council
  • File Canadian income taxes, if required to do so under the Income Tax Act, for four taxation years out of six years, matching physical presence requirement
    • Proposed Amendments: File Canadian income taxes, if required to do so under the Income Tax Act, for three taxation years out of five years, matching proposed new physical presence requirement
    • Proposed Date for Coming into Force: At a date to be determined by the Governor in Council
  • Time spent serving a conditional sentence order can be counted towards meeting physical presence requirements. Convicted individuals who are serving conditional sentence orders (sentences served in the community with certain conditions) are not prohibited from being granted citizenship or taking the oath of citizenship
    • Proposed Amendments: Time spent under a conditional sentence order cannot be counted towards meeting the physical presence requirements; and those serving a conditional sentence order are prohibited from being granted citizenship or taking the oath of citizenship
    • Proposed Date for Coming into Force: At Royal Assent
  • Provision prohibiting applicants from taking the oath of citizenship if they never met or no longer meet the requirements for the grant of citizenship, but does not apply to applications received before June 11, 2015
    • Proposed Amendments: Provision prohibiting applicants from taking the oath of citizenship if they never met or no longer meet the requirements for the grant of citizenship also applies to applications still in process that were received prior to June 11, 2015
    • Proposed Date for Coming into Force: At Royal Assent
  • No explicit authority for citizenship officers to seize fraudulent documents related to the processing of applications
    • Proposed Amendments: Authority to seize documents provided during the administration of the Citizenship Act if there are reasonable grounds to believe they are fraudulent, or being used fraudulently.
    • Proposed Date for Coming into Force: At a date to be determined by the Governor in Council

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Hon. John McCallum Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada Government and Politics

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