This week senate passed a new Bill C6 that proposes changes to citizenship Act negating many of the amendments that were done through Harper’s Bill C-24 commonly known as Second class citizenship.

What is Bill C-24

In May 2015, Conservatives under the leadership of Harper, passed a new bill proposing changes to Canadian Citizenship Act It caused a big commotion. In simpler terms, it meant that people who have dual citizens and who have immigrated to Canada can have their citizenship taken away if convicted of any kind of crime. People from both side were very vocal on this issue. People with the change cited the reason of terrorism and as a result we also saw a jump in hate crimes against Muslim population. There were also a huge group of Canadian against this change. They feared that it could easily be used against non-terrorists. For example, a journalist who is convicted of a “terrorism offence” in another country for reporting on human rights violations by the government or an activist taking part in an uprising against a corrupt regime.

Related Reading:
Bill C-24: Second class citizenship goes into effect
Last Friday, part of Bill C-24 went into effect, “officially” creating a two-tier citizenship system. Read what it means.

Bill C24 - Second Class Citizenship, Changes to Canadian Citizenship Act

What is Bill C6

Bill C-6, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act and to make amendments to another Act was tabled in the House of Commons by the Honourable John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, on 25 February 2016. The bill makes changes to the legislative provisions regarding grants of citizenship by naturalization, grounds for revoking citizenship, and the Minister’s authority with regard to fraudulent documents.

In other words, Bill C6 impacts many amendments introduced by Bill C-24 in 2014 by conservative Party. Here is the comparison of the amendments made by Bill C-24 and Bill C6.

Bill C24/C-24 Bill C6/C-6
Physical Presence in Canada
– It clarified that “residence in Canada” means physical presence in Canada and lengthened the period of residence required from 3 yrs in four years to 1,460 days (4 yrs) in 6 yrs. In addition,
 Physical Presence in Canada
– To be eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship, applicants must be physically present in Canada for a specified number of days. Proposed changes shortens the period required from 1,460 days (4 yrs) in 6 yrs to a total of 1,095 days (3 yrs) over the 5 yrs immediately prior to submitting an application for citizenship.
Physical presence in Canada

Citizenship applicants were required to be physically present in Canada for mimum 183 days in each year.

Physical Presence in Canada

Citizenship applicants are no longer required to be physically present in Canada for a minimum number of days within each year before applying. This however is expected to make a huge backlog with IRCC as citizenship judges have to review files where there may be concerns related to time spent in Canada

Eligibility Time for Citizenship

Time spent in Canada prior to becoming a permanent resident – as a temporary resident or protected person – no longer counts toward meeting this requirement. Nor does time spent while under a probation order, on parole, in a penitentiary or in prison.

Eligibility Time for Citizenship

Bill C6 introduces a new way of counting days of physical presence that takes into account time spent in Canada as a temporary resident or a protected person. Prospective citizens accumulate a half-day for every day spent in Canada as a temporary resident or a protected person, up to a maximum of 365 days, and one day for each day spent in Canada as a permanent resident. For example, a foreign student present in Canada for two years, who completes a masters’ program and subsequently becomes a permanent resident, can count the time spent in Canada as a student (up to 365 days) towards the three-year total required. Under Bill C-6, applicants must have permanent residence at the time of submitting their application for citizenship.

Intent to reside in Canada

Applicants must intend to reside in Canada if granted citizenship

Intent to reside in Canada

The requirement that a person intend to reside in Canada if granted citizenship is repealed.

In addition, persons who applied for citizenship on or after 11 June 2015 and have been granted citizenship before the coming into force of Bill C-6 will be deemed never to have had the requirement of the intention to reside in Canada

Knowledge of Official Language and Canadian Citizen Test

Family members aged 55 to 64 and 14 to 18 were made subject to fulfill these two requirements by Bill C-24 whereas before minor and 55 and above were exempt.

 Knowledge of Official Language and Canadian Citizen Test

Bill C6 reduces the adult maximum and minimum age limit to fulfill these two requirements. Now only family members aged between 18 – 55 are required to show the knowledge of one of the official language and pass the Canadian Citizenship Test.

A special clause was added to accommodate the applicants with disability.

 Income Tax Returns

New requirements for naturalization were introduced that applicant must file income tax returns for four of the six years before applying, in accordance with change in the eligibility time for Citizenship (mentioned above).

 Income Tax Returns

Requirement has been changed to reflect the changes in the eligible residency time for attaining the Canadian Citizenship.

Prohibition on Citizenship due to confinement

Any person who was detained or confined for any criminal reason cannot get the citizenship or attend the oath ceremony.

Prohibition on Citizenship due to confinement

Bill C6 changed the word ‘Confined’ to ‘serving a term of imprisonment’.

 Revocation of Citizenship

Any Canadian with dual citizenship who has been involved in criminal activity such as fraud in immigration or citizenship application/documentation, terrorism, treason, armed force actions against Canada whereas before the only reason was fraud in application/documentation. The Canadian then becomes a foreigner.

  Revocation of Citizenship

The clause regarding the fraud is unchanged.

With Bill C6, the person charged with these offenses losses the citizenship and becomes permanent resident.

Most notably, persons whose citizenship has been revoked for national security reasons under Bill C-24 are deemed not to have lost their citizenship

– None –   New Authority to Seize Documents

Minister can seize and detain any document submitted for the purposes of the Act if there are reasonable grounds to believe the document was fraudulently or improperly obtained or used.

 – None – Special Cases

Minister is given special discretion to grant citizenship to any person “to alleviate cases of special and unusual hardship or to reward services of an exceptional value to Canada.”

All other clauses will come into force upon Royal Assent. These include the clauses stipulating that the intention to reside in Canada will no longer be a requirement for the granting of citizenship and that the only ground for revocation of citizenship will be fraud. The consequential amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act will also come into force upon Royal Assent.

By tsadmin

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