OCASI appeared before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration on April 30, 2014 to make submissions on Bill C24 - Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act .
The Bill was introduced by the federal government on February 6, 2014. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has said that Bill is meant to reduce citizenship fraud, increase efficiency of the system and reduce backlogs.
OCASI believes that the Bill would instead exclude many permanent residents from citizenship by making the process more difficult. OCASI is especially concerned that the Bill diminishes the value of Canadian citizenship by treating differently those who have dual citizenship and those who don't, by distinguishing between Canadian born citizens and naturalized citizens, and between immigrants who do not work in the Canadian armed forces and those who do. The Bill also gives more power to the Minister to revoke citizenship while reducing judicial oversight.
OCASI is particularly concerned about the impact on racialized immigrants and refugees, and on immigrant and refugee women and children.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Komagata Maru and the 75th anniversary of the SS St Louis – a reminder of Canada's history of shamefully racist immigration policies. Changes to the Citizenship Act must work to undo the racist policies of the past by welcoming newcomers, bearing in mind that the majority of new immigrants and refugees today are people who 75 or 100 years ago would have been deliberately excluded from Canada.