Canada Expands Citizenship by Descent Beyond First Generation

Written by

Aditya Raj

Fact check by

Divyansh Chaudhari

Updated on

Jul 25,2024

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To cement bonds with the worldwide Canadian community, the Government of Canada took a significant step as it revealed that it would now grant citizenship by descent to more than just the first generation. This move shows how much the country’s policy on citizenship has changed and may be of great importance for Canadians living abroad and their offspring. In this article, we are going to look at what exactly this change entails, its effects, and why such changes are happening in general terms.

Current Policy on Citizenship by Descent

To properly understand why Canada extending citizenship by descent beyond the first generation is such a big deal, it’s important to know about what’s happening now. The way things are now is that Canadian citizenship can be transmitted to children born abroad under the Citizenship Act, but there are conditions and restrictions. This sets the scene for appreciating what these adjustments might mean or how good they could be. So, let’s get into details about current rules and find out why they were made.

1. Understanding the First-Generation Limit

According to the present Canadian Citizenship Act, citizenship by descent is limited to the first generation born abroad. This implies that only the kids of Canadians who are born in other countries can automatically become Canadian citizens. However, those born outside the country to subsequent generations do not have this privilege and must acquire it through naturalization.

2. Rationale Behind the First-Generation Rule

The first-generation restriction was created to stop endless births of citizenship for generations without a genuine connection to Canada. It was designed to make sure that Canadian citizens keep a real tie with the country through residing there or having a parent who is directly a citizen of Canada.

Changes to the Policy

Modifying a policy is an important task and usually needs much thought and careful planning. Whether a response to new situations, dealing with emerging difficulties, or an effort to become better, policy changes can determine how effective organizations or communities are run. Let us, therefore, look at what it takes to change a policy and the possible outcomes.

1. Extending Citizenship to Subsequent Generations

Canadian citizenship could be transmitted to a generation born outside the country once the new rule is approved. Therefore, it implies that the grandchildren or great-grandchildren of Canadian citizens have a chance to gain citizenship by descent if they satisfy specific requirements.

2. Conditions and Requirements

The full details of the terms and conditions have yet to be announced but it is believed that there will be a requirement that the descendants have some form of connection with Canada. This might be shown by:

  •  Providing evidence that the grandparent or great-grandparent was a citizen of Canada

  •  Showing strong links to this country – for example, through family relationships, cultural associations, or living here for extended periods at different times in their lives.

Implications of the Policy Change

Introducing policy changes can have wide-ranging implications for different sectors and communities. Every shift in healthcare rules, economic adjustments, or environmental protocol modifications carries its own outcomes and effects. These are important for policymakers, stakeholders, and the public, in general, to be aware of as they deal with the changing landscape that is shaped by government decisions. We should, therefore, look at some common implications of policy change and their significance in shaping the future together.

1. For the Canadian Diaspora

This policy change should make the Canadian diaspora quite happy, especially among those who have strong ties to their families in Canada and are living in other countries. Such people will now get an opportunity to easily obtain citizenship of that country, which has many advantages including but not limited to working or living there legally, among other social rights granted by states through its laws, as well as significantly simplifying the immigration process for many individuals.

2. For Canada

Canada believes that citizenship by descent allows stronger cultural and family connections to be made with Canadians abroad, helping them embrace a broader view of the world by creating diverse communities within their home country as well; it is also part of our immigration policy grounded on acceptance and integration towards people from different races.

3. Potential Challenges

Nonetheless, this policy change will not be easy. Canadian citizenship must remain true and that means descendants should have significant ties to the country. Practical difficulties may be involved if many new citizenship applications have to be processed.

Broader Context

The broader context of Canada’s decision to extend citizenship by descent beyond the first generation is essential to grasp the importance of this policy change. Nation-states worldwide are reconsidering their nationality laws in light of an increasingly globalized world. This aligns Canada with other countries such as Italy, Ireland, and Israel, which acknowledge multiple generations born overseas through citizenship legislation to avoid losing touch with their international diasporas. On a national level, it shows commitment towards diversity and inclusiveness by catering to people with relatives from around different parts of the world. Relating the Canadian approach within these broader local or global dimensions allows us to see how progressive the move is.

1. Global Trends in Citizenship Policies

Canada’s choices to extend citizenship by descent are part of a worldwide trend where many states reconsider their citizenship policies. Italy, Ireland, and Israel have traditionally recognized the benefit of keeping in touch with their global diasporas, allowing individuals born outside their borders to claim citizenship for generations.

2. Domestic Considerations

Nationally, this strategy shift is consistent with Canada’s continual devotion to variety as well as plurality. Moreover, it caters to the fears of numerous citizens who, for an extended period now, have been pushing for citizenship rules that are all-encompassing enough to take into account the realization that the globe has become a single village where people’s family members live in different countries.


Extending citizenship by descent further than one generation is a significant and forward step in Canadian citizenship policies. This change will enable more Canadians living overseas to claim their heritage and to re-establish ties with their homeland – underlining Canada’s commitment to its international diaspora. Though we are still waiting for the full details on how this will be implemented, it is clear that such a measure could touch the lives of many families deeply while also signifying another example where the nation leads on inclusive and progressive approaches towards nationality.

To learn more about this shift in Canada’s citizenship and to cater to your immigration to Canada wish, TerraTern is right there to help you through it easily. TerraTern is well versed with all the immigration services and the ways to immigrate easily!

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the current rule for citizenship by descent in Canada?

According to the existing regulation, people who are born outside Canada to Canadian citizens from the first generation alone are entitled to Canadian citizenship by birth.

What is changing with the new policy?

The latest policy will broaden citizenship by descent past the initial generation, meaning that Canadian citizens’ grandchildren and great-grandchildren born in foreign countries will be able to get citizenship.

What are the conditions for acquiring citizenship under the new policy?

While specific conditions are yet to be detailed, it is expected that there will be requirements to demonstrate a substantial connection to Canada.

Why is Canada making this change?

The change aims to strengthen ties with the Canadian diaspora, promote inclusivity, and align with global trends in citizenship policies.

When will the new policy take effect?

The exact date of implementation has not been announced, but the policy change is expected to be rolled out soon following further clarifications on the conditions and requirements.