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Happy Birthday! You’ve just lost your citizenship!

January 24, 2007

This story blows my mind! A little-known Canadian immigration law makes it mandatory that Canadian citizens celebrate their 24th birthday in the country (and fill out a form) to retain their citizenship.

canadaskylineThe CBC reports that more than 20,000 people may have lost their citizenship unknowingly because they were living outside of the country on that date in their lives and failed to fill our the proper form.

Horrible! (But hey, happy birthday anyway!)

Those people are finding this out as new passport rules take effect here in the States, needed to get in and out of the U.S. when visiting Canada, Mexico and other bordering countries. They can’t get updated Canadian passports, and are shockingly being denied as they apply.

Also, there are concerns that these citizens may lose their nationalized health-care coverage they’ve been banking on. Don’t start coughing, people!!!

From the article:

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Diane Finley acknowledged the provisions are unfair and said the government would shift its policy to fast-track the process of becoming a citizen for these people.

Prior to this week, Canadians without status would have to apply to become landed immigrants — a process that takes three years or more.

Now, they will be able to apply for a grant of citizenship in just eight months.

“We’re trying to right the wrongs of the past and do the reasonable thing, the right thing, for what are essentially Canadians in all but name,” Finley told CBC News in an exclusive interview.

But critics say that still leaves people like Porteous in limbo for too long.

Liberal MP Andrew Telegdi, vice-chair of the citizenship and immigration committee, called for Parliament to pass a new law for the Canadians who should never have lost their citizenship in the first place.

“I mean, it just defies logic,” Telegdi told CBC News. “The system doesn’t make any sense, so it’s critical that we have a citizenship act that is in compliance with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the generosity of what Canadians believe.”

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2 Comments
  1. Jen permalink
    February 19, 2007 3:50 pm

    I was looking into this more because the way it is worded in your article it sounds like it could effect me. (I am a Canadian born citizen currently living outside of Canada with my 24th birthday approaching.)

    You may want to clarify that this law was only in affect from 1947-1977 and effected citizens turning 24 years old outside of the country during those years. (People who are now ranging in age from 54-84.)

    Thanks

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