CBC: Can new legislation help 'Lost Canadians' be found again?

If passed, Bill S-245 will fix one issue in the Citizenship Act, but others are still in limbo

by Karen Pauls

When Pete Giesbrecht was summoned to his local police station on Halloween 2015, he had no idea he was 30 days away from being deported.

His crime? He had not reaffirmed his Canadian citizenship before the age of 28 under a complicated, confusing and not well publicized section of the Citizenship Act.

"They said, 'No, actually, you have 30 days to leave the country. And if you do not leave willingly, we will fly you out with bracelets and all,' " Giesbrecht recalled recently from his home in southern Manitoba.

He's one of thousands of so-called "Lost Canadians" — people who, because of where and when they were born, are caught up in confusing sections of the Citizenship Act. It can result in a loss of citizenship that forces them to leave Canada for countries they've never really known. Others become stateless.

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