Canada national flag thumbs down. Stock photo by Getty Images
Canadian citizenship isn’t an inalienable right. It is possible to lose your citizenship, but it depends how you acquired it in the first place.
If you’re a Canadian citizen by birth, it used to be almost impossible to lose your citizenship except by renouncing it yourself. A 2014 overhaul to the Citizenship Act allows for revocation in select circumstances. However, in early 2016 the newly elected federal Liberal government made their intention known to repeal part of the act, including the provision that calls for the revocation of citizenship from dual citizens who were convicted of terrorism, treason or espionage. In June 2017, the government repealed this provision of the Citizenship Act.
The only Canadians who can’t lose their citizenship are those born in Canada and don’t have other nationality or eligibility for another.
Naturalized Canadians — those who gained citizenship through immigration, not birth or descent — can lose their citizenship in multiple ways:
- False representation; and
- Knowingly concealing material circumstances.
Recent changes to the Citizenship Act streamlined the revocation procedure, removing Federal Court from the process. The decision now rests directly with Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and appeals are difficult.
Revocation of Citizenship