The 10 Blessings of Canadian Citizenship!
Updated: Aug 26, 2021
"Citizenship is the chance to make a difference to the place where you belong." - Charles Handy
CNN announced this July the world's most powerful passports for 2021; according to The Henly Passport Index, which ranks the world's passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa, Canada ranked - with Australia - as #9. 185 countries accessed without a Visa is not bad at all, compared to 193 for Japan, which ranked as #1. But is this really the most important criteria for holding one passport versus another? Obviously not, there is in fact so much more for being a Canadian citizen!
If you are a European or an Australian new resident of Canada, the chances that you would want to apply for citizenship are scarce, you already have all what you need. If you are moving from the Middle East region, South America or South Asia for instance - as a student, for work, or as a refugee - your primary goal would be to get the permanent residency followed by Canadian citizenship, once eligible. It is a lengthy process that comes in multiple phases as explained on the IRCC website; eligibility to apply for citizenship is bound to the below:
Being a permanent resident
Having lived in Canada for 3 out of the last 5 years
Having filed taxes, where needed
Having passed the citizenship test
Proving your language skills
So why do the majority of eligible immigrants become citizens? What's in it for them? How would they really benefit from becoming a Canadian citizen? Here are the major advantages:
Security: Once you obtain it, it is very difficult for a person to lose status (Trudeau's government reforms 2017).
Taxation: tax laws work on residency rather than citizenship, so if you are a Canadian citizen working abroad, you do not have to pay Canadian taxes.
Access to job opportunities: opens up the door to get a government job, and has a positive effect on immigrants' earnings.
Travel Rights: an excellent global reputation, and the ability to visit 185 countries worldwide (2021).
Canadian Consulate Support: while abroad, you get consular support in case you lose your passport, if you get in trouble, if someone you know goes missing, getting in touch with family in Canada for help in emergencies, and if urgent financial help is needed.
Living Outside Canada: You have the right to live outside Canada with no time limit.
Benefits to Children: Citizens can transmit their citizenships to children born outside Canada.
Participation in building the nation: citizens enjoy the right to a full participation in Canada's democratic life, voting and running for political office and in serving jury duty.
Dual Citizenship: new citizens of Canada can retain their other citizenship.
Documentation renewal exemption: Citizenship certificate is valid indefinitely and Canadian citizens need only renew their passports every decade.
I will add to the above 10 benefits the most important one, the Human Rights laws in Canada, that apply to both citizens as well as to permanent residents: The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and The Canadian Human Rights Act. The former guarantees broad equality rights and fundamental freedoms, democratic rights, mobility rights, legal rights and language rights; whereas the latter protects against harassment or discrimination based on race, age or sexual orientation.
Canadian Citizens, you are in good hands, it is your chance to make a difference!