Bill C-6 to change Canada’s Citizenship Act has finally been passed by the Senate with amendments, bringing the legislation closer than ever to becoming law. As a result of this bill, immigrants to Canada would be able to apply for Canadian citizenship earlier and more easily than before.
In a vote of 45 for, 29 against, and zero abstentions, Bill C-6 passed the Senate at around 4 p.m. on May 3, 2017. Senators in Ottawa have asked their colleagues in the House of Commons to review the bill, including amendments added by the Senate after the draft bill was previously passed by the House of Commons in June of last year. The bill is now at the Awaiting Royal Assent stage, a required stage for any bill to become law.
C-6 reduces the amount of time permanent residents have to live in Canada in order to become eligible to apply for citizenship, from four out of six years to three out five years. In addition, applicants who spent time in Canada on temporary status — such as on a work or study permit — would be able to count a portion of this time towards the three-year requirement.
The bill removes the intent to provide provision, and an increased number of applicants would be exempt from language proficiency requirements.
While being read in the Senate, Senators passed a number of amendments to the bill. Among these were a provision requiring the Immigration Minister to inform individuals who have their citizenship revoked due to fraud or misrepresentation that they have the right to appeal the decision in Federal Court.