The Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, which received Royal Assent on June 19, 2014, included new grounds to revoke Canadian citizenship from dual citizens who are convicted of terrorism, high treason, and/or treason or spying offences, depending on the sentence received. The changes also allow for the revocation of Canadian citizenship from dual citizens for serving as a member in an armed force of a country, or an organized non-state entity engaged in an armed conflict with Canada.
These new grounds for citizenship revocation came into force on May 29, 2015. These changes help protect the safety and security of Canadians and honour the contributions and sacrifices of those who serve Canada by ensuring those who are convicted of such crimes or who take up arms against Canada do not continue to benefit from Canadian citizenship. Revocation is an important tool to safeguard the value of Canadian citizenship and to protect the integrity of the citizenship program.
New revocation grounds
The Citizenship and Immigration Minister now has authority to revoke Canadian citizenship from dual citizens who are convicted of terrorism, high treason, and/or treason or espionage offences, depending on the sentence received.
In addition, the Federal Court now has the authority to revoke Canadian citizenship from dual citizens for serving as a member in an armed force of a country or an organized armed group engaged in armed conflict with Canada.
New revocation process
Under the new revocation process, the majority of revocation cases will be decided by the Citizenship and Immigration Minister, or a delegate. This will include cases involving residence fraud, concealing criminal charges or convictions, identity fraud or convictions for terrorism, high treason, treason or spying offences, depending on the sentence received.
More complex revocation cases including those involving war crimes and crimes against humanity, along with other fraud cases involving security, human or international rights violations and organized criminality, will be decided by the Federal Court. In these cases decided by the Federal Court, the court could also be asked to make a finding of inadmissibility as well as deciding on the revocation. This will allow for a removal order to be issued earlier in cases involving serious inadmissibility.
In addition to the above-listed cases, decisions on revocation of citizenship for serving as a member in an armed force of a country or an organized armed group engaged in an armed conflict with Canada will also be decided by the Federal Court.
A number of related legislative changes have also come into force to support the implementation of the new revocation grounds and process. These include:
- Impact of revocation — 10-year or permanent bar from re-acquiring citizenship:
- 10-year bar: Individuals whose citizenship is revoked under existing fraud grounds are barred from obtaining citizenship for 10 years, an increase over the previous five-year bar.
- Permanent bar: Individuals whose citizenship is revoked under the new grounds are permanently barred from being granted citizenship.
- Renunciation: If the Minister has initiated a revocation proceeding, an application for a renunciation of citizenship cannot be accepted.
- Misrepresentation: Those who directly or indirectly misrepresent or withhold material circumstances relating to a relevant matter that induces or could induce an error in the administration of this Act are prohibited from being granted citizenship or taking the oath of citizenship. A person prohibited for misrepresentation is barred from being granted citizenship during a period of five years following the finding of misrepresentation.