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Archived - Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act: A before and after view of the key changes to the Citizenship Act

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This list highlights changes to the Citizenship Act. Applicants should consult the CIC website and instructions on the application forms and guide for more detailed information on these changes.

Before

  • Residence for three out of four years (1,095 days)

After

  • Requires physical presence in Canada for four years (1,460 days) out of the six years immediately before the date of application (in effect June 11, 2015)

Before

  • No requirement that residents be physically present

After

  • Requires 183 days minimum of physical presence in Canada during each of the four calendar years that are fully or partially within the six years immediately before the date of application (in effect June 11, 2015)

Before

  • Time as a non-permanent resident (non-PR) may be counted toward residence for citizenship

After

  • Eliminates use of time spent in Canada as a non-permanent resident (non-PR) for most applicants (in effect June 11, 2015)

Before

  • No “intent to reside” provision

After

  • Introduces “intent to reside” provision (in effect June 11, 2015)

Before

  • Adult applicants aged 18–54 must meet language requirements and pass knowledge test.

After

  • Legislation now requires applicants aged 14–64 to meet language requirements and pass knowledge test (in effect June 11, 2015)

Before

  • Most “Lost Canadians” had their citizenship restored in 2009, but small number remained ineligible for citizenship

After

  • Extends citizenship to “Lost Canadians” born before 1947 as well as their 1st generation children born abroad (in effect June 11, 2015)

Before

  • Bars to citizenship for people with domestic criminal charges and convictions

After

  • Expansion of criminal prohibitions to bar applicants for crimes committed abroad. (in effect June 11, 2015)
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Before

  • Consultants not required to be registered or regulated in order to represent individuals in citizenship matters
  • Few tools to deter fraud and ensure program integrity
  • Fines and penalties for fraud are a maximum of $1,000 and/or one year in prison

After

  • Clearly defines who is authorized to provide representation or advice in a consultant capacity on citizenship matters and receive consideration (i.e. compensation)
  • newly-designated Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council is the new regulatory body for citizenship consultants
  • Gives the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada the authority to refuse an application for recognized status as a consultant if applicant commits fraud. 
  • Fines and penalties for fraud are up to a maximum $100,000 and/or up to five years in prison (in effect June 11, 2015)
  • New offences and penalties will be implemented for a person who counsels known misrepresentation or represents or advises a citizenship applicant and are unauthorized to do so (in effect June 11, 2015)

Before

  • Governor in Council (GIC) final decision maker for citizenship revocation

After

  • Gives Minister of Citizenship and Immigration authority to decide on most revocation cases
  • Complex revocation cases such as war crimes, crimes against humanity, security, other  human or international rights violations, and organized criminality decided by the Federal Court (in effect May 28, 2015)

Before

  • Limited authority to define what constitutes a complete application

After

  • Establishes authority to define what constitutes a complete application and what evidence applicants must provide   (in effect since August 2014)

Before

  • Citizenship grant is a three-step decision-making process

After

  • Changes citizenship grant to a single-step process for most applications that reduces duplication and improves processing times (in effect since August 2014)

Before

  • No requirement to file Canadian income taxes to be eligible for a grant of citizenship

After

  • Requires adult applicants to file Canadian income taxes, if required under the Income Tax Act, to be eligible for citizenship (in effect June 11, 2015)

Before

  • No authority to revoke citizenship for grounds beyond fraud and misrepresentation

After

  • Authority to revoke Canadian citizenship from dual citizens who served as members of an armed force of a country or an organized armed group engaged in armed conflict with Canada (in effect May 28, 2015)
  • Authority to revoke Canadian citizenship from dual citizens who are convicted of terrorism, high treason, treason, or spying offences, depending on the sentence received (in effect May 28, 2015)
  • Authority to deny Canadian citizenship to permanent residents who served as members of an armed force of a country or an organized armed group engaged in armed conflict with Canada or who are convicted of terrorism, high treason, treason, or spying offences, depending on the sentence received (in effect June 11, 2015)

Before

  • Misrepresentation on applications could only be pursued through the laying of charges by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

After

  • Applicants can be refused for misrepresenting or withholding material facts on applications and are subsequently barred from being granted citizenship for five years (in effect May 28, 2015)

Before

  • No fast-track mechanism for citizenship for members of the military to honour their service to the Canadian Armed Forces

After

  • Creates a fast-track mechanism for citizenship for individuals serving or on exchange with the Canadian Armed Forces to honour their service to Canada (in effect since June 2014)

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