Evidence of meeting #23 for Citizenship and Immigration in the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was child.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Andrew Griffith  Director General, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Branch, Department of Citizenship and Immigration
  • Rick Stewart  Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Operations, Department of Citizenship and Immigration
  • Nicole Girard  Director, Legislation and Program Policy, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Branch, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

9:55 a.m.

Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Operations, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

Rick Stewart

Which bill are you referring to? The one on adoption or Bill C-37?

9:55 a.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Generally speaking, when we think about this issue, the answer is obvious. I am talking about Bill C-37, as it was called when it was passed. A decision was made to include only those individuals who were naturalized. Those who obtained their citizenship by direct grant were not included.

Why was this not done? Was the idea to force people to make this choice just for the sake of doing so, or was the idea that everyone would choose citizenship by direct grant, that everyone who adopted children would choose that option, rather than naturalization?

9:55 a.m.

Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Operations, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

Rick Stewart

We do not want to force families to make a choice. In Bill C-14, the changes made to adoption rules sought to establish equivalency between individuals adopted abroad and those born abroad. In the past, individuals in these two groups were treated differently. In Bill C-37, the description of the options available to people wishing to adopt is relevant. However, individuals wishing to have their biological children born abroad face the same choice.

9:55 a.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

The situation is not the same. It is not always possible to control when a child will be born, but it is possible to choose which bureaucratic procedure to use for getting one's citizenship.

I would like to ask you one final, more general question. We have heard a great deal about attachment criteria. At the moment, the attachment to one's country is defined by the place of birth. These days, people travel a great deal, and the situation is not the same as it was in the 19th century, when the concept of citizenship was developed. People may be born abroad, live their whole lives in Canada and give birth abroad, but their child will not be a Canadian citizen. Conversely, someone may come and spend a week in Canada as a tourist, give birth to a child here, return to their country, and that child will be a Canadian citizen.

Is the place of birth still the only relevant criterion in 2009? Should we not be thinking about adopting a more modern, realistic one?

9:55 a.m.

Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Operations, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

Rick Stewart

That was one of the fundamental issues in discussions about restricting citizenship to the first generation. The decision was made, and it is up to us to enforce the law that was passed.

9:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Tilson

Merci.

We're going to go another five minutes, and I'm going to give the last questions to Mr. Shory and then Mr. Calandra.

June 16th, 2009 / 9:55 a.m.

Conservative

Devinder Shory Calgary Northeast, AB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I'd also like to thank the department for coming out.

There were quite a few issues late last week about stateless children, for example, so we got some clarification, which is good. I have a typical example here. I became a Canadian citizen through naturalization, so I understand that if my child is born outside Canada, that child will receive Canadian citizenship automatically. Now, if we bring that child back to Canada and the child lives in Canada most of his life, or we can say that he has reasonably strong ties with Canada, but for some reason that child's child is born outside of Canada, my understanding of this bill is that now the second child has to be sponsored by my child. Once my child sponsors his or her child and then brings the child back to Canada, and through naturalization that child becomes a Canadian citizen, then if his or her child is also born outside of Canada, would that child have the same rights as my child born outside of Canada?

10 a.m.

Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Operations, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

Rick Stewart

I believe in your example we're down to your great-grandchild.

10 a.m.

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua Vaughan, ON

It's a riddle.

10 a.m.

Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Operations, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

10 a.m.

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua Vaughan, ON

Anyone who goes through all that should be Canadian.

10 a.m.

Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Operations, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

Rick Stewart

So the short answer is indeed yes. The process of your grandchild being sponsored and naturalized in Canada will effectively deem them to have been the equivalent of born in Canada, so they will then be able to pass on to their offspring citizenship by descent if their offspring is born abroad.

10 a.m.

Conservative

Devinder Shory Calgary Northeast, AB

Just to clarify, are you saying that my grandchild will come to the same level as I am at today? I was naturalized.

10 a.m.

Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Operations, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

Rick Stewart

Yes, your grandchild will effectively have been naturalized.