Second-generation Canadians get into the act
Last Updated March 2007
Canada's Citizenship Act was dusted off and rewritten in 1977, so the majority of people born after that date are not affected by the original act. However, some people have been stripped of their citizenship by Section 8 of the new act. That law is designed to ensure that people with Canadian citizenship have a real connection to this country, and that people who were not born in Canada and never lived in Canada cannot carry on their citizenship indefinitely.
The way it works is supposed to be simple: If a person is born outside Canada to Canadian parents, they remain Canadian for life. However, if that person also has a child who is born outside Canada, then that child must apply to reaffirm his or her citizenship by age 28.
In short, all second-generation children born outside Canada after Feb 15, 1977, will lose Canadian citizenship if they don't renew their status before their 28th birthday. In a recent court decision, the judge ruled that the government had not made an earnest effort to explain this quirk in the law for people born under the 1947 act. Now, extra efforts are being put into place to educate potential victims of the 1977 Citizenship Act. The problem? There are now people older than 28 who never knew about retention obligations.
Among them was Johan Teichroeb of Kingsville, Ont. Born in Mexico to Canadian parents, he has lived in Canada since he was six months old. He became aware of the requirement to renew his citizenship, but it was too late. Teichroeb suddenly found himself in a legal limbo, allowed to live in Canada, but without the benefits of citizenship. For his family, the effects were disastrous. Without proof of citizenship, Teichroeb was no longer able to cross the Canada-U.S. border. He lost his job as a truck driver and the bank foreclosed on his house when he was unable to meet his mortgage payments.
After the CBC and other media told his story, Teichroeb's citizenship was reinstated. CIC has taken action to prevent further incidents. Late last year, former immigration minister Monte Solberg ordered that all of the second-generation born-abroad Canadians be notified of the need to reinstate citizenship.
|Newfoundland and Labrador||298|
|Yukon, N.W.T., Nunavut||298|
Source: Demographer Barry Edmonston
This chart displays information for those living in Canada. In addition, there are several groups that include people living outside of Canada, including the Chattel Children, Military Brats and Illegitimate Canadians. Because of that, we did not include charts for those three groups. Although we have written about pre-1977 and post-1977 Born Abroad babies separately, demographer Barry Edmonston created a single chart containing the combined total of both groups.
- Main page
- The Chattel Children: up to 20,000 in Canada, 85,000 living in the U.S.
- Border Babies: minimum 10,000 in Canada
- War Brides: potentially 25-35,000 in Canada
- War Babies: Between 6,000 and 20,000 living in Canada
- Born-Abroad Babies pre-1977: up to 32,000
- Born-Abroad Babies post-1977: up to 42,000
- Illegitimate Canadians: up to 30,000 Mennonite Canadians
- Military Brats: 110,000, mostly in Canada
- CBC coverage
- Paul Hunter reports on lost Canadians for the National (runs 2:55)
- Gary Symons reports on war babies for the World at Six (runs 4:16)