A Halifax family says they've "gone through hell" trying to get Canadian citizenship for a man born in the U.S. to Canadian parents.
Jarrett Power, 37, was born unexpectedly in Florida when his Canadian parents were vacationing there. Within a week, they were back home in Canada and Power has lived here ever since.
Leonard Power, his father, said there were no issues when his son was a child.
"Registered for school, put him in school, got his baby bonus cheques," he told CBC News.
Jarrett Power said he first discovered the problem 12 years ago when he tried to apply for Employment Insurance.
He was told he wasn't eligible because he wasn't a Canadian citizen — even though he'd paid income tax and contributed money to the Canada Pension Plan.
Power has not been permitted to work since, although he has a social insurance number and a document from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada recognizing him as a Canadian citizen.
"I go to Human Resources, they send me to Revenue Canada. Revenue Canada sends me to immigration," he said.
Job on hold
Power said he was recently offered a good job out west but he's not allowed to take it until the matter is cleared up.
Leonard Power said the battle with the federal government has taken a toll on his family.
"This has been devastating on our family. It's caused a lot of problems for us over the years, financially, emotionally. I think you can probably guess what it's like to be denied that you're a Canadian in your own country," he said.
"Jarrett has gone through hell trying to solve this problem and we just have not had any luck doing it."
In 2008, the federal government passed Bill C-37, an amendment to the Citizenship Act designed to get thousands of so-called 'Lost Canadians' another step closer to gaining citizenship they had lost or never had.
Thousands of Canadians — including people who were born in hospitals south of the border — were at risk of losing their citizenship due to outdated provisions in existing and former citizenship laws.
Power said the bill has not helped his case as the various federal government departments have been unable to resolve the situation.