B.C. Civil Liberties Association and Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers applaud end to second-class citizenship

Senator Ratna Omidvar
Photo: Twitter

THE BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) and the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL) on Wednesday commended the federal government and the Senate for the passage of amendments to the Citizenship Act.

They said in a statement that the enactment of Bill C-6 undoes changes that were discriminatory and anti-immigrant. Changes to the Citizenship Act passed by the previous government through Bill C-24 had created two classes of Canadian citizens, leaving dual citizens with a less durable Canadian citizenship and fewer rights than other Canadians. CARL and the BCCLA launched a constitutional challenge to the creation of two-tiered citizenship in August 2015.

More recently a class action challenge led to a Federal Court decision striking down the law’s revocation process because it failed to respect due process when the government wished to strip Canadians of their citizenship.

Josh Paterson, Executive Director of BCCLA said: “We are thrilled that after more than three years of fighting, multiple lawsuits, and over a year of wrangling in Parliament, second-class citizenship has been put to an end. The government has followed through on its promise to restore citizenship equality for all Canadians.”

CARL Executive Member Lorne Waldman added: “The bill was passed with a critical amendment, restoring the right to a fair hearing for people at risk of losing their citizenship under allegations of misrepresentation.” He pointed to the strong leadership and hard work of numerous senators in ensuring the Bill was amended, notably Senators Ratna Omidvar and Elaine McCoy and their staff.