The International Observatory on Statelessness


Under the current Canadian Citizenship Act, persons who are born abroad to a Canadian citizen parent are Canadian citizens by birth. However, children born abroad in the second generation to Canadian citizen parents must apply before the age of 28 to retain their citizenship. Individuals may become stateless at 28 years if they do not apply to retain their citizenship, do not meet all the requirements in the law, or are not entitled to other citizenship. Bill C-37 has a provision allowing persons to apply for Canadian citizenship if they are stateless (Subsection 4(2)). However, a number of conditions must be met, including the requirement that the stateless child of a Canadian citizen must have resided in Canada for three of four years preceding the application. This means that the child will have to remain stateless for at least three years. The bill does not explain on what basis a person would be allowed to enter and live in Canada in order to meet the three-year residency requirement. An estimated 200-300 stateless Palestinians live in Canada.

In 2008, Canada agreed to accept 100 Vietnamese families who no country would recognize since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. The families had been stranded in the Philippines for 20 years.