Only path to citizenship for ‘lost’ Canadians can take years and may involve mistakes, court hears

Useful account of the court proceedings and Justice Akbarali comments and questions. The definition of “lost Canadians” keeps on getting stretched. Agree, of course, on the need for better data, not just relying on personal stories and individual cases:

Government lawyers were challenged in court to justify the options for “lost Canadians” to be granted citizenship and the undue hardship endured by families affected by a rule that limits the passage of citizenship rights by descent for those born abroad.

At a hearing in Toronto on Thursday, federal government counsel argued there’s no charter right to citizenship and alternative pathways are available for children born overseas to foreign-born Canadians who can’t inherit citizenship under the second-generation cut-off rule.

“There’s simply one rule for passing on citizenship for the first generation born abroad, and that’s having a child born in Canada to continue the connection to Canada,” Hillary Adams, one of three lawyers for the government, told the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

“Or they can have their children born outside of Canada and confirm the connection to Canada by establishing permanent residence here and apply for citizenship, like most immigrants to Canada … The end result is the same. Your child gets Canadian citizenship.”

The lawsuit was brought by 23 individuals from seven families that have been negatively affected by the cut-off rule, arguing the law discriminates against them based on their place of birth, violates their mobility and liberty rights, and disproportionately puts women at a disadvantage when they have to give birth outside of Canada due to circumstances beyond their control.

Government co-counsel David Tyndale said people make personal choices as to where to look for jobs, where to start a family or whether to pursue a career abroad, and the choices have “intersecting effects” on one another.

“They may be difficult. They may involve serious consequences in some area or others of the person’s life. But the fact that life imposes choices on people as to where they live and where they have children isn’t necessarily a breach of the charter,” Tyndale argued.

The government contended that there’s no “blanket prohibition” for the second-generation born abroad to restore their Canadian citizenship through a discretionary grant by the immigration minister or indirectly first as a permanent resident through a family sponsorship before they turn 22 years old. Refused applicants can appeal to the Federal Court.

Source: Only path to citizenship for ‘lost’ Canadians can take years and may involve mistakes, court hears

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.

One Response to Only path to citizenship for ‘lost’ Canadians can take years and may involve mistakes, court hears

  1. Ely Shemer says:

    Loved it.
    This is what I see in your post
    Great informative article highlighting the issues and challenges faced by “lost Canadians,” and the need for better data to drive decisions.
    Thanks, Ely Shemer

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