PAFSO welcomes Bill C-24’s restoration of citizenship rights to children of Crown servants abroad

The Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO) welcomes with relief the amendments to the Citizenship Act which will restore full citizenship rights to children born abroad to diplomats, soldiers, and other Crown servants. If passed, these amendments will ensure that these children are able to transfer citizenship to their own children if the latter are also born or adopted abroad.

This right was mistakenly withdrawn in an earlier amendment to the Citizenship Act.

“Minister Chris Alexander delivered on a promise made by his predecessor Jason Kenney to correct a grave oversight in Canada’s Citizenship Act,” said Tim Edwards, President of PAFSO. “We are enormously pleased that the grandchildren of Canada’s loyal and dedicated Crown servants will no longer be deprived of Canadian citizenship simply because their parents were born abroad.”

A 2009 amendment to Section 3[3] of the Citizenship Act failed to exempt the children of diplomats and soldiers from a rule that Canadian parents born outside Canada who had obtained citizenship by descent could not in turn pass Canadian citizenship to their children if they were also born abroad. If Bill-24 (Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act) is passed, the children of federal, provincial, or territorial public servants and of Canadian Forces personnel will be exempted from the one-generation limit to the transfer of citizenship to individuals born outside Canada.

“PAFSO has demanded for years that the Act be amended to correct this serious drafting error. We are pleased that the Government has followed through on a commitment by then-Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney in January 2013 to address our concerns. These amendments ensure that Canadians who serve their country overseas with pride and distinction will not see their children disadvantaged by such dedication,” concluded Mr. Edwards.

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