Some Canadians could lose their citizenship on technicality

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Second-generation Canadians born outside of the country may unknowingly lose their citizenship due to a previously unenforced immigration law requiring them to re-register by a certain date.

The Citizenship Act of 1977 states that Canadian citizens born outside of Canada to parents who were also born outside of Canada, must re-register by their 28th birthday. The rule was put into place to show an attachment to the country and to safeguard the "value of citizenship," according to immigration officials.

Those affected by the rule may even become stateless if their country of birth does not provide citizenship. The 1977 law started affecting people who turned 28 years old on 15 February 2005.

The little-known legal requirement was brought to the governments attention by a letter to the Members of Parliament from Monte Solberg, former Immigration Minister, just days before he left his job. The law came to light during a review of dual-citizenship rules after the evacuation of Canadian citizens from Lebanon last summer.

A spokesperson for Diane Finley, Solberg's replacement, said the measures are neither linked to that review nor is the government cracking down on te enforcement of the law at this time.

The Canadian government is now putting expiration dates on citizenship cards. The expiration date is considered a more practical way of reminding people of the law rather than trying to track them down and notify them as their 28th birthday nears.


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