Immigration Counsels Canada: Extending Citizenship to Lost Canadians Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act

Halifax, February 21, 2014 — Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander and Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today reinforced the government’s commitment to extend citizenship to more “Lost Canadians” through measures proposed in Bill C-24, the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act.
In 2009, the government implemented changes that restored or gave citizenship to the vast majority of people who had lost it or never received it due to outdated legislation—including to some born before 1947. Yet a small number of “Lost Canadians” such as some first generation children born abroad to war brides and service men were still not eligible for Canadian citizenship.
The proposed amendments in the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act include extending citizenship to most of the remaining “Lost Canadians” who were born before the firstCanadian Citizenship Act took effect in 1947 as well as to their children who were born outside Canada in the first generation.
Overall, the government’s reforms to the Citizenship Act protect the value of citizenship and ensure the process is faster and more efficient for new Canadians. 

Quick facts

  • Citizenship would be granted retroactively, dating back to January 1, 1947 (or April 1, 1949 for Newfoundland) or to the year of birth in the case of persons born after January 1, 1947 or April 1, 1949.
  • People born or naturalized in Canada before 1947 who subsequently lost their British subject status and did not become citizens on January 1, 1947 would have citizenship automatically given to them.
  • British subjects ordinarily resident in Canada prior to 1947 who did not become citizens on January 1, 1947 would have citizenship automatically given to them.
  • Children born abroad in the first generation to any parent who was born, naturalized or British subjects ordinarily resident in Canada prior to 1947 would have citizenship automatically given to them.


It is thanks to the hard work, sacrifices and dedication, of all Canadians – those whose families have been here for generations as well as new Canadians, that Canada is now one of the most free and democratic countries in the world. I am proud that our government is now moving to reclaim our remaining “Lost Canadians”, and with this and other changes to the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, we are protecting the value of citizenship for the future.
Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister
As the world changes and we move to a more globalized and interconnected society, our provisions of who is a Canadian citizen must reflect today’s perspective. By modernizing provisions in the Citizenship Act, our government is strengthening the value of Canadian citizenship. This is really great news for a number of people who will be able to “wake up Canadian” the day these provisions come into force.
Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Related products

  • News release:  Strengthening and Modernizing the Citizenship Act: Reinforcing the value of Canadian citizenship while continuing to move toward a faster and more efficient system
  • Blueprint for Citizenship Improvements
  • Reinforcing the Value of Canadian Citizenship
  • Cracking Down on Citizenship Fraud
  • Protecting and Promoting Canada’s Interests and Values
  • Extending citizenship to “Lost Canadians”
  • A comparative view
  • Graphic: Strengthening Canadian Citizenship—Shortening Processing Times
  • Graphic: Strengthening Canadian Citizenship—Reducing Canada’s Citizenship Backlog
  • Graphic: Reducing Processing Times—Strengthening Canadian Citizenship ActAmendments
  • Graphic: Strengthening Canadian Citizenship—Streamlining Citizenship Revocations
  • Graphic: Changes to Canada’s Citizenship Fees: A Comparative View—Reducing the Burden on Canadian Taxpayers
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Photos of Minister Alexander are available.
For further information (media only), please contact:
Alexis Pavlich
Minister’s Office
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Media Relations
Communications Branch
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Building a stronger Canada: Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) strengthens Canada’s economic, social and cultural prosperity, helping ensure Canadian safety and security while managing one of the largest and most generous immigration programs in the world.