As of June 19, 2017, a new Citizenship Act with more liberal provisions has come into effect.
The previous Conservative government had made onerous changes to the Citizenship Act when they were in power. The Conservatives had brought in provisions allowing the government to revoke citizenship for those convicted of treason, they had demanded that applicants reveal continued intention of living in Canada after obtaining citizenship and they had disallowed the time accrued before permanent residence to count toward citizenship.
With the advent of the new Liberal government, the Citizenship Act has been revamped to restore some of the lustre lost.
With the new Act,
- Dual citizens living in Canada convicted of serious crimes will not have their citizenship revoked.
- Applicants are no longer required to express their intention to continue living in Canada after being granted citizenship, providing more flexibility to Canadians who may need to live outside for work or personal reasons.
- Minors can now apply for citizenship without a Canadian parent, removing the age restriction.
Statelessness has been added as a stand-alone ground that can be considered for discretionary grant of citizenship.
Over the course of the next 12 months, additional changes will take into effect, including
- Applicants will only be required to be in Canada for 3/5 years before applying for citizenship.
- Applicants will no longer have to meet the requirement of being in Canada for 183 days in four of six years preceding her application.
- Applicants will be able to count days physically present in Canada as a temporary resident (student or worker) before becoming a permanent resident, half-time, up to a maximum of 365 days.
- Applicants between 18 and 54 only will have to meet the language and knowledge requirements for citizenship and not between 14 and 64 as before.