Friday, June 11, 2010

New rules aim to strengthen the value of Canadian Citizenship

Canadian parliament from the Musée Canadienne ...Image via Wikipedia

Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney introduced legislation that would streamline the citizenship revocation process, crack down on crooked citizenship consultants and better protect the value of Canadian citizenship.

“Canadian citizenship is highly valued around the world and today we are taking steps to ensure it stays that way,” said Minister Kenney. “These changes will help prevent citizenship fraud. As promised in the Speech from the Throne, these amendments will streamline the process to take citizenship away from those who have acquired it by fraud, including by concealment of their war crimes. And it would take decision-making away from politicians and give it to the courts.”

The full package of amendments would strengthen the process of applying for citizenship and crack down on citizenship fraud. Bill C-37: Strengthening the Value of Canadian Citizenship Act proposes to:

* Add legal authority to regulate citizenship consultants and to crack down where they help people gain citizenship fraudulently, in line with the recently proposed amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act – The Cracking Down on Crooked Consultants Act – aimed at immigration consultants.
* Increase the penalties for citizenship fraud to a maximum of $100,000 or up to five years in prison or both.
* Strengthen citizenship residence requirements to specify in the law that people applying for citizenship would have to be physically present in Canada for three of the previous four years.
* Improve the government’s ability to bar criminals, including violent foreign criminals, from becoming Canadian citizens.
* Streamline the revocation and removal process and make revocation more transparent by shifting the decision making on revocations from the Governor in Council to the Federal Court.
* Ensure that the law supports the implementation of the first generation limit to passing on citizenship, ensure that the law does not unintentionally bar applicants who are eligible for citizenship, and ensure that the children of people serving Canada aboard – children of Crown servants – are not disadvantaged by their parent’s service to Canada and are able to pass on citizenship to their children.

“Canadian citizenship is more than a legal status, more than a passport,” said Minister Kenney. “We expect citizens to have an ongoing commitment, connection and loyalty to Canada.”
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