Vol. 148, No. 17 — August 13, 2014
SI/2014-71 August 13, 2014
STRENGTHENING CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP ACT
Order Fixing August 1, 2014 as the Day on which Certain Provisions of the Act Come into Force
P.C. 2014-891 July 31, 2014
His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, pursuant to subsection 46(1) of the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, chapter 22 of the Statutes of Canada, 2014, fixes August 1, 2014 as the day on which subsection 7(3), section 11, subsections 12(1) and (3), section 13, subsection 16(2) and sections 20, 22, 27 and 41 of that Act come into force.
(This note is not part of the Order.)
Pursuant to the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act (the Act), which received Royal Assent on June 19, 2014, this Order in Council (OIC) fixes August 1, 2014, as the day on which subsections 7(3), section 11, subsections 12(1) and (3), section 13, subsection 16(2) and sections 20, 22, 27 and 41 of the Act, come into force. These sections amend the Citizenship Act, and make consequential amendments to the Federal Courts Act.
This Order brings into force sections of the Act dealing with the streamlined decision-making model, complete applications, abandonment or suspension of applications, and applications for judicial review.
The Government committed in the 2013 Speech from the Throne to strengthen and protect the value of Canadian citizenship by introducing the first comprehensive reform to the Citizenship Act in more than a generation. Bill C-24 is the first major overhaul of the Citizenship Act since 1977. As a result, the Bill is extensive and contains many new proposals, as well as updates to existing provisions.
The OIC brings into force amendments to the Citizenship Act that change the decision-making model and how applications are processed and that establishes a uniform system for judicial review of decisions made under the Act.
With respect to the decision-making model, the OIC brings into force a number of provisions, including:
- The Minister will become the decision-maker with respect to applications for a grant, resumption and renunciation of citizenship.
- Citizenship judges will decide whether applicants have met the residence requirement in cases where the Minister is unable to make a positive decision on residency.
- This transitional role will sunset after five years, unless the Minister decides to extend it. Should the role of judges be extended, this decision would be publicly announced.
With respect to how applications are processed, the OIC brings into force a number of additional provisions, including:
- Only complete applications, which contain all the required materials and fees, will be accepted for processing.
- Authority to suspend a file in certain circumstances, and to deem an application abandoned if specific criteria are not met.
- Authority to make it a requirement for applicants to provide information relevant to their application or to appear at an appointment either with the Minister or with a citizenship judge, when requested to do so by the Minister.
- Applicants will be required to answer questions related to their application truthfully.
The OIC repeals the provision of the Citizenship Act that specifies that citizenship judges be required to consider whether to recommend a waiver or a discretionary grant to the Minister. The Minister will be able to use that discretion upon request of an applicant.
The following provisions dealing with applications for judicial reviews are also brought into force by the OIC:
- Authority to establish a uniform system for judicial review of decisions made under the Act, including decisions of the Minister and citizenship judges. This replaces the previous system for reviewing decisions, which is a mix of judicial review and appeal options, depending on the decision-maker and type of decision being made.
- A requirement for leave (permission of the court) to seek judicial review against all citizenship decisions. Appeals to the Federal Court of Appeal will only be heard if, in rendering judgement, the Federal Court judge certifies that a serious question of general importance is involved, and states the question.
The Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration conducted three weeks of hearings on the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act and heard from over 25 witnesses, including representatives from many stakeholder organizations.
Legislation and Program Policy
Citizenship and Multiculturalism Branch
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
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