Thursday, January 29, 2009

New Canadian citizenship rules impact children of Canadian TCKs

by guest blogger Robin Pascoe of ExpatExpert

If you are Canadian and gave birth or planning to give birth to any of your children while living overseas, please read this and pass the link along to any of your Canadian friends who did likewise.

Not enough for TCKs to wonder who they are, new citizenship rules which go into effect April 17th of this year from Citizenship and Immigration Canada are now going to have their children wondering what nationality they are.

Read these new rules carefully. To help you along, here is a key phrase you should look for in the section about 'Persons born or adopted outside of Canada' after the new rules go into effect:

“This means that children born in another country after the new law comes into effect will not be Canadian citizens by birth if they were born outside Canada to a Canadian parent who was also born outside Canada to a Canadian parent.”

Government bafflegab to be sure but essentially, it means that if you had your child abroad and gave him/her your Canadian citizenship, after April 17th, that same child cannot give their children the same Canadian citizenship unless they are born in Canada (and a few other rules thrown in for good measure). Given that a high percentage of children of expats are born abroad and TCKs have a propensity for living and working abroad in adulthood, there’s a pretty good chance your grandchildren (if you’re old like me) or your children (if you are a TCK reading this) will also be born outside of Canada.

The head of the Canadian Expat Association Allan Nichols and I have been working together to get as much clarity as possible on these changes since I was alerted via a posting on my Facebook site by Valerie Bolduc of Ottawa. She had been reading an article published yesterday about these new complex citizenship laws in the Toronto Globe and Mail. Now, we are all trying to reach as many Canadians, Canadian clubs and chambers as possible.

Also unclear from the get-go (besides that convoluted language above) are the exemptions. It says in the rules that children of Canadian diplomats, military or any other personnel of the Canadian government born abroad are exempt. But when Mr. Nichols called Ottawa yesterday to get some answers, he was told that even diplomatic families will not be immune if one of the spouses was born outside of Canada. If this is indeed true (they are so confused it would seem in Ottawa) it would mean that a Canadian foreign service officer, a Canadian ambassador, indeed anyone who served Canada abroad but chose to marry a non-Canadian, may not have Canadian grandchildren!

So, what can you do?

For starters, send this link onto everyone you know who is Canadian with children born abroad or thinking about it. Don't forget, they may even be back living in Canada now. It doesn’t matter. Help educate other Canadians and stress the urgency for action of clarity.

Second, watch this blog for updates as Mr. Nichols and I are both on the case and engaging as many people as possible to gather information including the Canadian Employee Relocation Council. A power point presentation illustrating the fallout of this Byzantine movement by the government has been assembled by Mr. Nichols and is available to view through this link.

Third, and most important: Write to the Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, right now and demand clarity and answers. His e-mail address is and the mailing address is The Honourable Jason Kenney, P.C.,M.P, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1L1. Remember this goes into affect on April 17th so write to him now! Time is of the essence.

Mr. Nichols explains in his presentation why the government is changing the existing laws, but it is clear, that innocent fish are being caught in a net designed to close loopholes. More to come a we know it, but please, act now.


Don said...

As a 'Lost Canadian' who immigrated to the US, Bill C-37 is important to me.

It spells out quite clearly that 1st Generation Born Abroad children will be citizens upon enactment of C-37. 2nd Generation Born Abroad children will not.

The reason is obvious for this; they must draw the line somewhere.

Why would they permit numerous generations to automatically become citizens when it is very unlikely they would have any interest in Canada or in being a Canadian citizen?


Octafish said...

Other nations hve drawn the line at 3 generations, which seems reasonable to me. At that point, unless Grandpa's running for the Guiness record in longevity, you can assume the thrice-removed "Canadian" no longer has more than the weakest ties with Canada. But second generation?

As an actual Canadian-born Canadian citizen, I can't say I support such an arbitrary decision. I can definitely say that my voice was never heard in the decision-making process. Is this a policy that actual Canadians actually agreed to, or yet another goal scored for bureaucracy?

Anonymous said...

The new law is intended to stop people from becoming Canadian Citizens but who have no intention of living here. Their sole purpose is to provide a social safety net for their offspring who become Canadian Citizens simply by being born to Canadian Citizens. These people have contributed nothing to Canada and, in my opinion, should have their citizenship revoked and their children disqualified from gaining citizenship. Those who want Canadian Citizenship should be living here and contributing to Canadian society in some way or other if they want their children to enjoy the benifits of being Canadian.

Johnny Canuck

Anonymous said...

How about those who were second generation born before Bill C-37, but because of the 1947 citizenship act when first generation lost citizenship because of not living in Canada on their 24 th birthday, or birth not registered the second generation, by no fault of their own were ineligible for citizenship. However second generation who were lucky to be born after 1977 if their parents did not lose citizenship from the 1947 act got citizenship. Also what about second generation who were both under the 1947 act, but were both after the parent turned 24 and parent was too born during the 1947 act should retroactive citizenship covered everyone of descent. Canada's citizenship by descent is really ( citizenship by descent, and date of birth) which a person can't determine when they were to be born.