Bill C-6, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act was tabled in the House of Commons by the Honourable John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, on 25 February 2016. It was adopted by the House of Commons on June 17, 2016.
That same day, the Bill was referred to the Senate of Canada, that can suggest amendments. At this time, the Bill cancels or modifies several amendments that had been pass by the previous government with respect to, for instance, (1) the residency requirement as well as (2) the way of counting the days of effective presence in Canada, (3) the intention to reside in Canada and (4) knowledge of an official language and of Canada.
Here are some highlights:
- The residency requirement will be lowered to 1095 days (three years) over the five-year period immediately preceding the application for citizenship.
- It will no longer be necessary to be effectively present in Canada for a minimum number of days each of the five years preceding the application. The new way to calculate the required time takes into account days spent as a temporary resident (student, visitor or holder of a temporary resident visa for instance) or as a protected person (such as a refugee): each day counts as one half-day up to a maximum of 365 days. On the other hand, time spent while incarcerated or under a probation or parole order does not count.
- The Bill cancels the requirement that the applicant intend to continue to reside in Canada after obtaining Canadian citizenship.
- Knowledge of one official language and of Canada will apply only to applicants between the ages of 18 (19 in British Colombia, Nova Scotia, New-Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut where it is the age of majority) and 55.
This Bill went through first reading on June 17, 2016. At this stage, it was simply read and printed so that it could be circulated among senators. The Bill was referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affaires, Science and Technology on December 15, 2016. As of January 12, 2017, no meeting of the Committee had been scheduled yet.
If all goes well, these changes making Canadian Citizenship easier to obtain could become law in the fall.