A citizenship breakthrough for Canadian LGBTQ2+ families and couples with fertility issues
Non-biological Canadian parents who are legal parents at a child’s birth can now pass down Canadian citizenship to their children born abroad in the first generation. The move follows a change in the interpretation of “parent” under the Citizenship Act, recognizes and celebrates the diversity of Canadian Families, announced Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
The change comes after the Superior Court of Quebec affirmed that the IRCC’s new interpretation of parent recognizes equally biological parents and legal parents at birth, and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects this interpretation under the law.
Until this day, the Citizenship Act automatically recognized a child born abroad as a citizen at birth only if they were a biological child to a Canadian parent or if the child was born to a Canadian parent in the first generation.
Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, said, “I am very happy to announce this historic and positive declaration made by Quebec’s Superior Court. This change by Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada means that 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. Canadian LGBTQ2+ families and parents experiencing fertility issues have waited too long for this important day.”
For Canadian parents who have relied on assisted reproduction to start a family, including members of the LGBTQ2+ community and couples with fertility issues, this is certainly a breakthrough. It comes as a result of the advocacy of the Caron / van der Ven family, who petitioned the court to address situations where some children of parents using assisted human reproduction did not acquire citizenship automatically at birth.
“Getting citizenship for our son was a long, sometimes hurtful and frustrating journey,” said y Laurence Caron and Elsje van der Ven. “We are extremely happy and relieved that the court corrected this discriminating policy, not only for our family but also for many same-sex and non-traditional families around the world who could not get Canadian citizenship for their children. We are very thankful to IRCC for implementing the new changes so quickly,” they added.
Minister Marco Mendicino acknowledged that this was a “difficult and stressful time” for the Caron / van der Ven family. “Canada is grateful to them for the courage and strength they have shown in righting this wrong,” he added.