[JURIST] A Canadian Federal Court ruled on Wednesday that certain provisions of the Citizen Act [text] violate principles of fundamental justice under Canada’s Bill of Rights [text]. Judge Jocelyne Gagne [official website], who ruled over eight cases involving the law, struck down provisions that prevented people from challenging their loss of Canadian status over alleged lies on residency or citizenship applications. Additionally, these provisions barred those who lost citizenship from reapplying for citizenship for ten years. These cases challenged [Canadian Press report] the law’s intolerance of allowing those stripped of their residency or citizenship from having their case heard in front of an independent and impartial adjudicator. The final ruling stated that those stripped of their residency or citizenship status are entitled to a hearing before an administrative tribunal in which they have a right to defend themselves. This decision will prevent the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration [official website] from deciding to revoke someone’s citizenship on their own and without a trial.
The Citizenship Act has been under attack since the new, more liberal government has taken control. The act, also known as bill C-24, was passed in June of 2014, which made eligibility requirements for immigrants seeking citizenship stricter than in the past [CIC report]. The government has proposed various provisions to the Act to make it easier for those seeking citizenship in the country. These provisions would potentially abolish the requirements of: physical residence for 3 to 5 years prior to application, language requirements for those between the ages of 18-54, taking an oath of citizenship, among many others.