CBC Go Public: Woman, 99, denied citizenship despite living in Canada since 1933


Citizenship and Immigration doesn't know or understand its own rules, says critic 

A 99-year-old woman is going public after she was denied Canadian citizenship and a health card despite living in Canada for more than 80 years.

Joan Stirling's application was rejected by Citizenship and Immigration Canada because she  couldn't produce a specific piece of identification — her birth certificate from almost a century ago.

Her friend Diana Watson has been fighting since 2012 to get Stirling recognized as a Canadian citizen, in part, so the senior could access public health care.

Watson provided Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) with a mountain of proof, more than 20 documents that tracked Stirling's birth in the U.K., her arrival in Canada, and her long history here.

The paperwork shows Stirling has been living in Toronto since the 1930s, working, paying her taxes and voting in almost every election. But Watson says that one piece of identification — Stirling's birth certificate — was hard to track down even though she had contacted authorities in the U.K.

Despite all the other evidence, Watson says CIC refused to provide Stirling with a citizenship certificate. Only after Go Public investigated was Stirling granted citizenship. 

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