Are You Sure You're Canadian?

  • Downhome Magazine
  • Posted: Jun 20, 2011 6:09 PM
Isabel Harris's roots in Newfoundland go back 300 years, yet she doesn't qualify for Canadian citizenship. Read her story in the July 2011 issue of Downhome.

In the July 2011 issue of Downhome, Lin Crosbie-Marshall delves into the murky issue of Canadian citizenship. She found that some life-long residents of this country have been unpleasantly surprised to find out they are not recognized as citizens. If it happened to them, could it happen to you? Take the online test to find out by clicking here.

Below you'll find a list of circumstances under which, at one time or another, Canadians could have unknowingly lost their citizenship.

12 Ways to Lose Your Citizenship
Researched and compiled by Don Chapman

1. As a minor child, one's father took out citizenship in another country.

2. You were a foreign-born Canadian, and on your 24th birthday you weren't domiciled in Canada.

3. You were a war bride who never became naturalized.

4. You were a war-bride child who never was naturalized.

5. In certain circumstances, you were a second-generation, born-abroad Canadian and you didn't reaffirm your citizenship by your 28th birthday.

6. You were a border-baby, meaning you were born in the U.S. (mainly because the nearest hospital was in the States rather than Canada), and you were never properly registered. People from Quebec were particularly affected.

7. In certain circumstances, your connection to Canada came through a woman rather than a man. This mainly affected foreign-born, born in-wedlock children to Canadian mothers and foreign fathers. In 1997, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled CIC was guilty of gender discrimination, thus granting citizenship to this group on application. However, in 2004, CIC decided to ignore the Supreme Court's ruling, thus Canada went back to blatantly discriminating against women.

8. You were born out of wedlock.

9. You were born to a Canadian serviceman outside of Canada, commonly referred to as "military brat."

10. You are a woman who married a non-Canadian prior to 1947.

11. You are a child of a woman who married a non-Canadian prior to 1947. (It doesn't matter that you've spent your whole life in Canada or were born in Canada!)

12. You took out citizenship in another country prior to 1977.


Waking up Canadian
A new law amending the Citizenship Act came into effect on April 17, 2009, giving Canadian citizenship to certain people who lost it and to others who were recognized as citizens for the first time, according to Citizen and Immigration Canada. Watch this video, "Waking up Canadian," an amusing portrayal of how so many individuals woke up Canadian citizens on that day.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Have you or someone you know had to struggle to regain Canadian citizenship? Leave your comment in the space provided, above right.