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Citizenship for Adopted Children

Ottawa, May 15, 2006 — On this International Day of Families, the Honourable Monte Solberg, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, introduced a new bill in the House of Commons to amend the Citizenship Act. The proposed legislation will allow children adopted abroad by Canadian citizens to obtain Canadian citizenship without first having to become permanent residents. As a result, the difference in treatment between children adopted abroad and children born abroad of a Canadian parent will be minimized.

“We are supporting Canadian families who adopt foreign-born children by helping them get citizenship without having to go through the immigration process,” Minister Solberg said. “It is fitting that the introduction of this important bill occurs on the International Day of Families.”

In order for the adopted child to be granted citizenship, the adoption must conform to the laws of the province or the territory of residence of the adoptive parents. Adopted children will be able to acquire Canadian citizenship as soon as the adoption process is completed, providing that an application for citizenship is submitted in their name.

“This is a major step forward for foreign-born adopted children and their adoptive families,” said Sandra Scarth, President of the Adoption Council of Canada.

“The Government of Canada is committed to working to welcome these young new Canadians and enhance fairness,” said Minister Solberg.


For more information (media only):

Lesley Harmer
Director of Communications
Minister’s Office
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
(613) 954-1064
  Marina Wilson
Media Relations
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
(613) 941-7021
Ida-Mae Tracey
Office Manager
Adoption Council of Canada
1 888 542-3678
  Patricia Fenton
Executive Director
Adoption Council of Ontario
(416) 482-0021
Karen Madeiros
Executive Director
Adoptive Families Association of BC
(604) 320-7330

>>> Bill C-14: An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (adoption)


Amendment to the Citizenship Act: Adoption

Introducing an amendment

The Government of Canada has introduced a bill to amend the Citizenship Act. Should it receive Royal Assent, the proposed legislation would update the current law, which dates back to 1977.

Canada’s first citizenship legislation came into effect in 1947 and was replaced when a new law was enacted in 1977. Since then, inconsistencies have become apparent.

The amendment is based on previous legislative proposals and consultations: Bill C-63, introduced in Parliament in 1998;
Bill C-16, introduced in 1999; Bill C-18, introduced in 2002; and Bill C-76, introduced in 2005. The amendment also responds to the recommendations made by the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration in the previous Parliament.

Should the bill receive Royal Assent, it will come into force on a date specified by the Governor in Council. This will be coordinated with the completion of necessary regulations.

Citizenship through adoption

Under the proposed legislation, a child adopted abroad by a Canadian citizen could be granted citizenship without any permanent residence prerequisite. This provision is intended to reduce the distinction between children born to and children adopted by Canadian citizens outside Canada. The adoption must be a legal adoption and in the best interests of the child in order to be recognized for citizenship purposes. These requirements are intended to help prevent child trafficking or abduction. Under the current legislation, a foreign child adopted by a Canadian must obtain permanent residence before an application for citizenship is made in the child’s name.

  • The proposed legislation will eliminate the permanent residence requirement for children adopted outside Canada by a Canadian parent, unless the parent chooses to go through the immigration process or the adoption is to take place in Canada.
  • Adopted children, just like children born to Canadians outside Canada, will not be subject to criminal or security prohibitions.
  • Upon application, adopted children will be able to obtain citizenship after the adoption is finalized.
  • The proposed legislation will also allow for a grant of citizenship to a person adopted as an adult (18 years of age or older) provided a genuine parent-child relationship existed at the time of the adoption and before the person turned 18.

Adoption applications in process

Should this amendment receive parliamentary approval, pending citizenship applications for children adopted outside Canada by a Canadian parent will be finalized under the current process. If the adopted child is found not to be eligible for citizenship under the current provision, CIC will then assess the application under the new provision.

If the legislation is passed, Canadian parents who adopt a child abroad may apply for citizenship in the child’s name under the new provision as soon as the legislation comes into force.


The CIC Call Centre can provide further information on the proposed legislation and the impact of the changes on Canadians. Please call 1 888 242-2100 (toll-free anywhere in Canada).