Citizenship: Whether physical presence in Canada is required to maintain the residence requirements under the Citizenship Act: Hsu, Re 25 Imm. L.R. (2d) 251 (Fed.T.D.). Appeal from refusal of application for Canadian citizenship.
The appellant arrived in Canada on July 23, 1989 and he established in Montreal, a consulting company with extensive contacts in Hong Kong and Taiwan. He rented an apartment which he shared with his partner and in late 1990, purchased a residential unit in Vancouver. He carried out the various formalistic requirements for establishing residence such as bank accounts, driver’s licenses, income tax reporting, health care insurance, social insurance card, etc. The appellant is divorced and his children are grown-up and reside on the US West Coast.
The facts also indicate that the company performed increasingly well during the three years in question and required appellant’s protracted absences totaling 569 days, primarily for business purposes. The trial judge that upon arrival in Canada in 1989, the appellant had not sufficiently established residence, prior to his first departure and therefore, his absences could not be considered periods of residence in Canada.
On appeal, it was held that even on a liberal and extended meaning of the term “residence”, the appellant failed to meet those requirements. “Canada had little if any connection with the appellant’s endeavor; an important component to qualifying for residence status is thus absent. (…) Being granted landed immigrant status is one step, but qualifying for Canadian citizenship is a different one altogether”.
This decision supports the position that the “strict constructionist” approach is not consistent with a proper interpretation of the Citizenship Act. A liberal application of the residence requirements is desirable where a sufficient connection to Canada is maintained in the form of personal, social or institutional involvements on the part of an applicant.