A number of so-called « Lost Canadians” have finally received their Canadian citizenship this month. As of June 11, citizenship was granted to those « Lost Canadians » who were born prior to 1947, and did not become citizens when the first Canadian Citizenship Act came into force in that year.
« This will also apply to their children born in the first generation outside Canada, » Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said in a written statement.
However, any Lost Canadian who wants a certificate to prove their citizenship – which will help them access pensions and apply for passports – still needs to apply from scratch to obtain it. The CIC website states that citizenship certificates take up to five months to process.
The “Lost Canadians” are a group of people who were denied or stripped of citizenship because of a complicated set of laws that discriminated on the basis of gender, race, and age.
Many people discovered that they were Lost Canadians only when they tried to obtain passports or access health care and were informed that they didn’t qualify because they did not have proof of citizenship, something that was denied to them when they would apply to CIC. As a result, a number of Lost Canadians sued the federal government.
The government passed the latest legislation last June after changes it implemented in 2009 still left several people ineligible to receive citizenship.
In addition to the provisions for Lost Canadians, other changes to the Citizenship Act have given CIC expanded powers to revoke the citizenship of Canadians, with dual nationals “who commit acts of terrorism or acts against Canadian interests” at risk of losing their Canadian citizenship.
Additionally, the right to appeal decisions on citizenship has been eliminated, and new citizenship applicants between the ages of 14 and 64 must meet basic knowledge and language requirements.