U of T prof still waiting for citizenship after three years | Toronto Star

An example of some of the problems in the citizenship program. C-24 streamlining will address some of these, but we will only know in 2016 when the backlog has been cleared and, more significantly, additional incremental funding ends:

Lemmens submitted his application to become a Canadian citizen in February 2011 after living and working in Canada since 1991. The native Belgian had come to Canada as a student. After completing his doctorate in 1997, he began teaching health law and bioethics at the University of Toronto — first through a joint appointment at the law faculty and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and in 1999 just at the law faculty. Married to a Canadian, he had permanent resident status and didn’t immediately apply for Canadian citizenship.

He looked into it a couple of times but didn’t meet the residency requirement because he had been out of the country twice — once for a research leave and once for a sabbatical year. He was told he could be out of the country for only a maximum of 400 days out of four years. So he waited and counted.

When he finally applied for citizenship, he thought it would be a simple matter. But the process was difficult.

After preparing his initial application and writing his citizenship exam, he was required to fill out a very detailed questionnaire for which he had to piece together not only the exact dates he was out of Canada, but also where he stayed and the reason for his absences. He also was required to produce documentation showing home and family ties as well as employment and contributions to Canadian society.

This request surprised him.He has yet to be told why he was required to fill out an additional questionnaire or why his application has taken so long.He believes it may have something to do with the fact he was missing some entry stamps when he returned to Canada from journeys abroad. ….

Lemmens believes the government has purposely made the application process complicated and bureaucratic to discourage people from applying for Canadian citizenship.

“It’s really irritating and makes me think, if my file appears difficult to evaluate, how tough must it be for people from ‘suspect’ countries, or people who don’t necessarily have the same stable employment.”

U of T prof still waiting for citizenship after three years | Toronto Star.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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