Earlier this year, new legislation was introduced to make the process of becoming a Canadian citizen simpler and quicker.
And on Wednesday morning, the Government of Canada announced a significant milestone in implementing these changes to the Citizenship Act through the adoption of Bill C-6.
Under the new law, immigrants only need to have lived in Canada for 1,095 days, within a five-year period, to be eligible for citizenship. Another change now allows permanent residents to count up to 365 days of their previous temporary status towards the residency requirement for citizenship.
As well, the age required to meet the language and knowledge requirements for citizenship has been shrunk to between 18 and 54 years old, while it was previously between 14 and 64 years old.
The latest set of changes to the Bill also include aligning the number of years applicants need to file Canadian income taxes (if required to do so under the Income Tax Act) to three out of five years, to match the changes to the physical presence requirements.
All the changes, with more flexibility to applicants, come into effect on October 11, 2017.
“One of the strongest pillars for successful integration into Canadian life is achieving Canadian citizenship and becoming part of the Canadian family,” said Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, in a statement. “The Government encourages all immigrants to take the path towards citizenship and take advantage of everything that being a Canadian has to offer.”
— Ahmed Hussen (@AhmedDHussen) October 4, 2017
The federal government advises citizenship applicants who meet the new requirements to wait until October 11 before applying for citizenship.
More changes are expected to take place later in 2017 and 2018, which will include strengthening the citizenship revocation process so that the Federal Court is the decision-maker on most cases, and giving clear authority under the Citizenship Act for citizenship officers to seize fraudulent or suspected fraudulent documents.