Citizenship change benefits couples with fertility issues and same-sex couples

July 9, 2020—Ottawa—Canadian families are as diverse as Canadians themselves, and everyone deserves the same rights and opportunities, no matter who they love or how they identify.

In recognition of the diversity of Canadian families, the Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, today announced a change in the interpretation of “parent” under the Citizenship Act. The change allows non-biological Canadian parents who are their child’s legal parent at birth to pass down Canadian citizenship to their children born abroad in the first generation.

This new interpretation helps Canadian parents who have relied on assisted human reproduction to start a family, including members of the LGBTQ2+ community and couples with fertility issues. Until now, a child born abroad was automatically recognized as a citizen at birth only if the child shared a genetic link to the Canadian parent or if the child was born to a Canadian parent in the first generation.

This change is the result of the advocacy of the Caron / van der Ven family, who sought a durable solution through the court system to address situations where some children of parents using assisted human reproduction did not acquire citizenship automatically at birth. The Superior Court of Québec affirmed that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) new interpretation of “parent” recognizes equally biological parents and legal parents at birth, and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects this interpretation under the law.

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