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Legal Resource Centre


Dual Citizenship

On Tuesday, November 7, 2006, Citizenship and Immigration Minister, Monte Solberg confirmed that Ottawa is reviewing the rules governing dual citizenship. The issue came up in the aftermath of the evacuation of 15,000 Canadians from Lebanon last summer during the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict, at an approximate cost of $63 million. Many of those Canadians hold dual citizenship and some have returned to Lebanon. The minister raised the issue of the priviledges and responsibilities of citizenship and whether Canadians holding dual citizenship and living abroad should qualify for social programs.

Dual citizenship is defined simply as being a citizen of two nations. In general, countries define citizenship based on one's descent, place of birth, marriage, and/or naturalization. That is, you might be a citizen of a given country if you were born on the territory belonging to a certain country (jus soli, Latin for “right of the soil”), if one or both of your parents were citizens of that country (jus sanguinis , Latin for “right of the blood”), if you married a citizen of the country or if you or your parents went through a formal legal process of naturalization. Each nation has its own rules for granting citizenship. An estimated 90 countries in the world permit dual citizenship.

Canada has recognized multiple citizenship since 1977. That is, Canadian citizens have the right to hold citizenship of another countries. Immigrants who obtained Canadian citizenship also have the right to retain their previous nationality, if their country permits dual citizenship. Some immigrant groups are concerned with the dual citizenship review.

According to Statistics Canada, 557,000 Canadians - 1.8 per cent of the population - hold dual citizenship.

For more information please click on the related links below.

CBC: News in Depth (Dual Citizenship)
In depth news report on the status and implications of dual citizenship in Canada. Broadcasted by CBC on July 20, 2006
Becoming Canadian: Intent, process and outcome
Study conducted by researchers at Statistics Canada and published in Canadian Social Trends. It discusses issues about immigrants and their choice to
Dual citizenship overhaul likely a non starter
Article in Law Times, on the legal implications of dual citizenship in Canada.
Canadian Citizenship Act
The official Canadian Citizenship Act as revised in 1998. Full text available.
Dual Citizenship and Canada's New Diaspora
Study conducted by Simon Frasier University and Vancouver Centre of Excellence. The study is part of the commentaries series on Research on Immigratio
American Consular Services for Canada
The site provides general information on dual citizenship and procedures and rules for obtaining American citizenship.
Statistics Canada (2001)
Statistical information on the number of Canadian citizens holding multiple citizenship.
Dual citizenship: Democracy, rights and identity in a globalizing world
Conference held by Institute of European Studies, University of Toronto (2005) on dual citizenship and its political, social and economic impacts.
A new beginning in Canada: Dual citizenship
Official site of a well established Canadian firm law specialized in Immigration. It presents the legal implications of possessing dual citizenship.
Site developed by Foreign affairs and International Trade Canada featuring information and assistance for Canadians abroad.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada