Last Updated on January 24, 2019
Thousands of would-be citizens are stranded without any claim to Canadian citizenship due to a legal loophole that has existed for decades.
In 2009 the Canadian government passed Bill C-37 in an attempt to help rectify the situation, which was due to the fact that before 1947 citizens of Canada technically did not exist – they were British subjects.
Around that time, massive amounts of migration in light of the war led to various ambiguous legislation regarding children born overseas to “Canadian” citizens or children born in Canada to foreign nationals.
Now, many of them are fully-grown adults, yet they hold no legal status – neither in Canada nor in any other nation. As of just three years ago, there were an estimated one million such cases in the country.
However, Bill C-37 helped solve the issue for about 95 per cent of the “Lost Canadians” who were stuck in limbo. Yet confusing legislation has left still thousands stateless. Some have applied for a special citizenship grant, but success is not guaranteed.
“Such grants are made on a case-by-case basis by the Governor in Council,” said a CIC spokesperson. “CIC receives on average approximately 10 requests for a discretionary grant of citizenship per month and the vast majority of these cases are approved. The overall approval rate for discretionary grants of citizenship (which includes cases of ‘lost Canadians’) is approximately 92%.”
Such figures are of little comfort to people like Jackie Scott, who was born out of wedlock to a Canadian soldier in England. She has lived in Canada since 1948, and her parents married not long after their arrival. She recently learned that she does not have Canadian citizenship, and her application for a citizenship grant has been denied two times thus far.
She is now working with others in a group called the Lost Canadians to fight for such citizenship rights.
Source: National Post