Saturday, January 17, 2009

New Citizenship Rules Coming

There has been an interesting development in Canadian citizenship law. After April 17th, children who are born abroad and obtain Canadian citizenship, either through a citizenship application process, or by virtue of being born abroad to Canadian citizens, will no longer have the right of Canadian citizenship for any of their born-abroad children. Make sense?

Glen McGregor has put in more clearly in an Ottawa Citizen article you can find blogged here.

On the surface, this seems to be a reasonable law. Its intent, of course, is to prevent generations of people living outside the county, who have no ties to Canada other than a Canadian great-grandma, from having automatic Canadian citizenship. Fair enough.

But for those of us with internationally-adopted children, it is troubling. To be clear, this regulation won't affect my son, or any child who already has citizenship. But here's what the future scenario could be:

A family has one child by birth and one child by adoption. The adopted child was born in China (or Russia, or Taiwan, or Ethiopia, etc...). The family decides, when the children are teenagers, to leave Canada- maybe Mom lands a big job with a Fortune 500 company in the US (we'll imagine improved economic times, ok!?!). The kids go to high school and college in the States, they both fall in love and have their own children. The children of the non-adopted child have dual citizenship- Canadian and US. The children of the adopted sibling have NO claim to Canadian citizenship. SO, half the grandkids get to call themselves Canadian, half don't.

Is this fair?

Obviously, foreign-born-internationally-adopted Canadian kids are a special subset of born-abroad Canadians, who were not meant to be targeted by this new law. They require an exemption that is unambiguous and automatic.

Jason Kenney, are you listening?

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