CIMM Committee News Release
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Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration
HOUSE OF COMMONS
CHAMBRE DES COMMUNES
Comité permanent de la citoyenneté et de l'immigration
For immediate release
RECLAIMING CITIZENSHIP FOR CANADIANS: A REPORT ON THE LOSS OF CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP
Ottawa, December 6, 2007 - The Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration today tabled in the House of Commons a unanimous report aimed at resolving the issue of “lost Canadians.” Under various citizenship laws since 1947, hundreds of Canadians have lost their citizenship unknowingly and involuntarily, or have technically never been citizens in the first place.
“These longstanding citizenship problems affect many ‘Canadians,’ and they have caused an extreme amount of hardship and upset for those involved,” stated Norman Doyle, M.P. (St. John’s East), Chair of the Standing Committee. “Immediate action is required to close this chapter of our history and allow people to resume their lives, and in some cases, start new lives as the Canadians they were always meant to be.”
The Standing Committee heard from dozens of witnesses earlier this year. Some, who were born in Canada, could trace their Canadian ancestors back for generations, but lost their citizenship under pre-1977 rules that restricted the ability to hold dual citizenship. Other witnesses, who were born abroad to Canadian parents, failed to meet various technical registration requirements before deadlines and either lost, or never acquired citizenship. Still others were denied citizenship under archaic provisions in the 1947 Canadian Citizenship Act that differentiated between children born to married parents and those born out of wedlock.
Earlier this year the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, the Hon. Diane Finley (Haldimand-Norfolk), announced a forthcoming bill to address the lost Canadians problem. The Committee’s main recommendations are aimed at helping shape that legislation and include the following points:
- Citizenship law should not distinguish between people based on their year of birth, whether their parents were married at the time of their birth, or any other such factors.
- Lost Canadians should have their citizenship restored retroactive to the date it was lost, or granted retroactive to birth, as the case may be.
- The Minister should consider using her discretionary power to implement the Committee’s recommendations even before the new legislation is drafted and introduced in the House of Commons.
The Committee has called on the Government to introduce the bill resolving the lost Canadians issue.
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