November 23, 2016
Update on Federal Court Challenge against Citizenship Revocation Regime
Last week, we along with other law firms involved in this challenge appeared before the Federal Court for a three-day hearing (November 15-17) to address the constitutionality of amendments to the Citizenship Act by the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act. At the hearing, we argued that the current revocation process infringes the Charter rights of citizens, the vast majority of whom can be stripped of their Canadian citizenship without ever having the opportunity to have their personal circumstances considered in an oral hearing.
Unlike the previous revocation process where citizens had a right to have their matter heard by the Federal Court if requested before a decision to revoke citizenship was made, the current process only provides citizens with a right to make written submissions. A request for an oral hearing under the current process does not have to be granted and a decision to revoke citizenship can be made by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration without the involvement of an impartial tribunal. The only remedy available to an individual whose citizenship is revoked under this current process is to seek Leave of the Federal Court to have the revocation decision judicially reviewed. This can occur only after the individual’s citizenship has already been taken away.
Those who joined this litigation benefited from a stay of the revocation process for the duration of the proceedings. However, those who are not part of this challenge are still at risk of having revocation and potential removal enforced against them. Canadian citizens who received Notices of Intent to Revoke or revocation decisions under this current process should still explore if their cases can be stayed through an application or motion at the Federal Court.
For more information on the citizenship revocation constitutional challenge, please click here.