Multiple Citizenship, Identity, and Entitlement in Canada

  • Canada

Multiple Citizenship, Identity, and Entitlement in Canada


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Canada’s recognition of dual citizenship in 1978 followed earlier moves by the United Kingdom and France (among other countries). The forces of globalization validate the wisdom of this policy. Many individuals maintain meaningful connections to more than one state. The global trend toward acknowledging this reality through acceptance of multiple citizenship is both irreversible and salutary. At the same time, it is legitimate for the state to promote civic participation among its members and to encourage citizens to contribute to the social, economic and cultural enrichment of Canada. The role of legal citizenship as an incentive or guarantor of these objectives is important but narrow. Legal rules for acquiring, retaining and transmitting legal status (including multiple citizenship) are intrinsically limited in their capacity to identify, judge and reward “good” members or punish “bad” members.

We survey the sources of popular anxiety around multiple citizenship and focus on two recurrent objections regarding claims by dual citizens outside Canada to legal rights associated with citizenship. The first objection is that because nonresident citizens do not live in Canada, they do not demonstrate the appropriate degree of commitment to Canada. The second is that since nonresident citizens do not pay taxes, they are not entitled to claim the rights of citizenship.


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  • Macklin, Audrey et François Crépeau. "Multiple Citizenship, Identity, and Entitlement in Canada" Institute for Research in Public Policy, June 2010, 32 pages.