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Changes being made to make it easier for parents to pass on Canadian citizenship

Last Updated Jul 9, 2020 at 5:57 pm PST

FILE -- Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marco Mendicino speaks during a press conference on COVID-19 in West Block on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Thursday, March 19, 2020. The Liberal government is updating the interpretation of "parent" in order to make it easier for people to pass on their Canadian citizenship to their children. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang)

OTTAWA — The Liberal government is updating the interpretation of “parent” to make it easier for some parents to pass Canadian citizenship on to their children.

Previously, children born abroad to Canadians automatically received citizenship only if there was a genetic link between the parent and the child or the parent gave birth to the child.

But couples who used assisted reproductive technologies to have kids had to go through a cumbersome process to secure citizenship even if one parent was Canadian.

Laurence Caron, who is Canadian, and her partner Elsje van der Ven, who is Dutch, fought that approach upon the birth of their son Benjamin and their discovery that he wasn’t automatically Canadian.

They won, and appeared alongside the federal Immigration minister today to announce a new policy.

The government will now allow non-biological Canadian parents who are a child’s legal parent at birth to pass down their citizenship.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 9, 2020.

The Canadian Press