The revocation of Canadian citizenship is a very serious matter that will likely have a tremendous impact on the life and future of the person concerned. Depending on the reasons provided for seeking revocation, a person who loses their citizenship may also lose their permanent residence and face removal from Canada. If you or a family member is facing the revocation of citizenship and want to challenge this decision, legal counsel is important as this is a highly complex area of law.
Why can the Government seek to take citizenship away?
If Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) believes that you obtained your citizenship through “false representation or fraud or by knowingly concealing material circumstances”, they can start proceedings to take citizenship away from you. This means, that if you were untruthful in setting out your period of residence in Canada or, for example, did not disclose a criminal record that you are at risk of losing your citizenship.
Recently the Government has passed new amendments to the Citizenship Act that will also allow – when the new provisions come into force – CIC to take citizenship away from individuals who are believed to be involved in acts of terrorism and/or has committed treason against Canada.
What happens if my citizenship is revoked?
If you were honest on your application for permanent residence, and so the only errors are with your citizenship application, then on loss of citizenship you become a permanent resident. For example, if your days of declared residence in Canada were wrong, you would again become a permanent resident of Canada.
It is possible that on return to being a permanent resident that you will face additional challenges. If, while you were a permanent resident of Canada, you were committed a crime overseas and did not disclose this on your citizenship application, then on return to being a permanent resident (after loss of citizenship) you may face allegations that you are inadmissible to Canada for criminality. For more information on criminal admissibility, click here.
On the other hand, if you also misrepresented yourself on your permanent residence application then loss of citizenship will lead directly to loss of permanent resident.
What is the process for citizenship revocation?
The process of citizenship revocation begins with CIC sending a Notice of Intent to Revoke Citizenship. The Notice will outline the grounds for revocation: the summary of CIC’s case against you.
If you receive this Notice, you have the right to request that the matter be referred to the Federal Court for review within 30 days. The Federal Court process will begin with CIC filing a Statement of Claim, which will set out in detail the reasons why CIC believes that your citizenship should be revoked. You respond to this by filing a Statement of Defense. This is a highly complex process that has legal and financial implications. It is recommended that you seek experienced legal counsel to assist you if you find yourself before the Court in citizenship revocation proceedings.
Should the Federal Court find that CIC’s allegations are inaccurate and/or insupportable, then the matter ends there and you maintain citizenship. However, if the matter is not referred to the Federal Court or if the Court finds that CIC’s allegations are well-founded, then the Minister may proceed to submit a report to the Governor in Council recommending that citizenship be revoked.
The text of this report by the Minister to the Governor in Council is to be disclosed to you; you then have the opportunity to make written submissions. These submissions would be attached to the final report provided to the Governor in Council, who must then determine whether the revocation should be carried out. If the Governor in Council finds that citizenship should be revoked, their decision is carried out by an Order in Council. If this happens to you, you still have the right to have the Federal Court judicially review the Governor in Council’s decision.
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