Change in the Interpretation of “Parent”

Lisa Cai Citizenship & Immigration, Community, Settlement & Community News, Updates

There has been a recent change in the interpretation of “parent” under the Citizenship Act.

Before the change, genetic links were greatly emphasized — a child born abroad was automatically recognized as a Canadian citizen at birth only if one of these two conditions was met:

  • If the child shared a genetic link to the Canadian parent.
  • If the child was born to a Canadian parent in the first generation.

The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, has recently announced a change in the interpretation of “parent” under the Citizenship Act:

Now non-biological Canadian parents who are their child’s legal parent at birth can pass down Canadian citizenship to their children born abroad in the first generation.

This new interpretation is good news for members of the LGBTQ2+ community and couples with fertility issues. With this change, non-biological legal parents at birth and biological parents are now viewed equally as a child’s parent for the purposes of citizenship by descent.

More information:

Words of the Day:

  • Interpretation: explanation or meaning. In this update, “interpretation” is a legal definition.
  • Fertility: a person’s ability to have children