Family Helper > Adoption News Central

COUNTRY NEWS   Family Helper   
Adoption Resource Central
 Heart of Adoption
Articles to inspire
The latest from specific countries
You can order Family Helper publications
GLOSSARY of adoption terms
  Bill C-14: new law makes it easier for children adopted abroad to become Canadian citizens
Family Helper editor

(Dec. 20, 2007)    Canadians who adopt children abroad will find it easier to have their newest family members become Canadian citizens. Bill C-14, an amendment to Canada's Citizenship Act which became law on June 22, 2007, will go into effect Dec. 23.

The new legislation allows children adopted abroad by Canadian citizens to obtain Canadian citizenship without first having to become permanent residents. After Dec. 23, 2007, citizenship can be granted to them after the adoption is complete, after submitting an application for citizenship. As a result, the difference in treatment between children adopted abroad and children born abroad to a Canadian parent is minimized.

Under the current system, a Canadian adopting a child born abroad must first apply to sponsor the child to come to Canada, then seek a permanent resident visa, then apply for citizenship. Now, parents will apply for their adopted child's citizenship abroad rather than submit sponsorship and permanent resident applications. They will save time and have less paperwork, as the steps are merged into one. Once the child has citizenship, the parent will be able to apply for a Canadian passport through the appropriate Canadian government office outside Canada.

Some adopted children will still have to go through the immigration process, if the adoption is to be completed (finalized) in Canada or is a guardianship arrangement rather than a full adoption.

The new law also permits granting citizenship to children adopted overseas after Feb. 14, 1977. In Quebec, it allows citizenship to be granted before finalizing an adoption for children adopted into Quebec; it's the only province which doesn't complete adoptions until the children are in Canada and living with their adoptive parents.

Commenting on the same adoption provisions in predecessor Bill C-18, the Canadian Bar Association raised some concerns about the lack of an appeal provision for adoptive parents. The CBA stated that "[t]he proposed law is not sensible if it provides an inferior review process and disadvantages citizen parents in the event of a refusal of the application for citizenship." It contended that a refusal of a citizenship application (under Bill C-18) "is subject only to judicial review in Federal Court, rather than full appeal on the legal issues to the IAD [Immigration Appeal Division]."

Under the existing law, when an application for citizenship is refused, the parent may apply for judicial review at the Federal Court and is limited to the grounds set out in the Federal Courts Act. This situation is not changed by Bill C-14. In contrast, when an application for permanent residence is refused, the parent may have recourse to the Immigration Appeal Division and the case may be reviewed on both facts and law.

For the opinion of Doug Chalke, Executive Director of Sunrise Adoption agency, "It's still not automatic citizenship", see Citizenship for Adopted Children: Canada's New Law for 2008.


News Release, Citizenship and Immigration Canada,

Proposed C-14 Citizenship Regulations, Canada Gazette,

Legislative Summary, Bill C-14: An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (adoption), Library of Parliament,

Family Helper news item: (June 22, 2006) Citizenship for children adopted abroad: welcome Bill C-14,

You may reproduce this item with the credit:
"From Family Helper,"



Fertility Adoption Adoption Resource Central Post-adoption Family Tree
Contact: Robin Hilborn,
Box 1353, Southampton, Ont. N0H 2L0 Canada
©2009 Robin R. Hilborn
Updated Mar. 24, 2008

Family Helper


About us    Copyright    Privacy    Disclaimer