A new law amending the Citizenship Act came into effect on April 17, 2009. The new law grants Canadian citizenship to certain people who lost it and to others who will be recognized as citizens for the first time.

Citizenship will be automatic and retroactive to the day the person was born or lost citizenship, depending on the situation. These people will not have to apply for citizenship, but will need to apply for a certificate to prove their citizenship. People who are already Canadian citizens will not lose their citizenship under the new law.

Citizenship will be restored to people who:

  • became citizens when the first citizenship act took effect on January 1, 1947, including people born in Canada prior to 1947 and war brides. It also applies to other British subjects who had lived in Canada for at least five years before 1947, became citizens on January 1, 1947, and who then lost citizenship.
  • were born in Canada or who became Canadian citizens on or after January 1, 1947, and who then lost their citizenship
  • were born outside Canada, on or after January 1, 1947, in the first generation born abroad, to a Canadian citizen.  

Citizenship will be granted to people who were previously required to apply to retain it. This includes people who:

  • were born outside Canada on or after January 1, 1947,
  • are in the first generation born abroad, and
  • were born to a Canadian citizen.  

The new law changes the rules regarding people born outside of Canada to Canadian parents. It was possible for Canadians to pass on their citizenship to endless generations born outside Canada. This is no longer the case as the new law will grant citizenship to only the first generation born outside Canada. Children born outside of Canada to parents who themselves were born outside of Canada will no longer have an automatic right of citizenship. People who have renounced their citizenship or had it revoked will also not become citizens under the new law.

In order to raise awareness of the new law, Citizenship & Immigration has produced a rather humourous video (link below) entitled "Waking Up Canadian".

New Citizenship Rules

Video "Waking Up Canadian"