Vancouver Sun: Lost Canadian denied citizenship and now has to fight for pension benefits

Vancouver Sun
By Daphne Bramham, The Vancouver Sun

American-born Sandy Burke was orphaned by her Canadian father at six in Massachusetts. But her Canadian grandmother rescued her and brought her to Canada where she went to school, worked for decades as a welder and braiser on industrial production lines in southern Ontario, paid her taxes and raised three sons (shown above with Burke).
Sandy Burke with her sons

After she arrived 59 years ago, Burke never left again. So she never applied for a passport and never knew that to the government she's invisible -- despite all those taxes she paid and despite the fact having a Social Insurance Number and health-care card.

At 65 when it came time to apply for old age security, Canada abandoned and denied her. Now 66, Burke is disabled with diabetes and its effects and worries that she could now lose her essential health benefits and even be deported to the United States. It's another example where bureaucracy trumps common sense and civil service is anything but civil. To read more, click here.

And Burke is far from alone. There are hundreds,even thousands of people who believe they are citizens and only find out that they are not when they apply for passports, citizenship certificates or pensions. If you think you might be one of them or if you want more information about the so-called Lost Canadians, go to

If you would like to send a message of support to Burke, her friends and family have set up a Facebook page. And if you think the government's treatment of her is outrageous, let the government know. E-mail Citizenship Minister Jason Kenney at, Prime Minister Stephen Harper at or your own member of Parliament and let them know.

Sandy Burke as a youngster