January 18, 2024

A Major Step Forward: Ontario Court Strikes Down Canada’s Second-Generation Citizenship Cut-Off

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has declared the "second-generation cut-off" provision in the Citizenship Act unconstitutional. This provision, introduced in 2009, denied automatic citizenship to children born abroad to Canadian citizens who themselves were born outside the country. The ruling, issued by Justice Jasmine Akbarali, marks a pivotal moment in the nation's ongoing conversation about inclusivity and belonging in a diverse and interconnected world.

The Discriminatory Nature of the Cut-Off

The central issue at stake in the case was the discriminatory nature of the cut-off. Justice Akbarali found that it violated Section 15(1) and Section 6 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms on two primary grounds: national origin and sex.

  1. National Origin: The cut-off created a two-tiered citizenship system, effectively deeming Canadians who obtained citizenship by descent to hold a "lesser class" of citizenship compared to those born in Canada. This distinction based solely on birthplace, the court argued, unfairly disadvantaged Canadians who, through no fault of their own, were born outside the country.
  2. Sex: The ruling also highlighted the intersectional discrimination faced by first-generation women born abroad. Their biological capacity to conceive placed them in a unique predicament. Choosing to have children abroad could force them to choose between career and financial stability, or ensuring their offspring could inherit Canadian citizenship. This, Justice Akbarali emphasized, amounted to "patriarchal and racist" discrimination against women.

Beyond the Legal Arguments: The Human Cost

The court's decision went beyond legal technicalities to acknowledge the human cost of the cut-off. Families were divided, with some children denied the inherent right to Canadian citizenship simply because they were born outside the country. This, the court recognized, created anxiety, hardship, and a sense of disenfranchisement for countless individuals and families.

Moving Forward: Redefining Citizenship in an Inclusive Era

The Ontario Superior Court's ruling sets a crucial precedent and paves the way for a more inclusive and equitable citizenship framework in Canada. It challenges the narrow definition of national identity enshrined in the cut-off and underscores the need for a more nuanced approach that recognizes the diverse tapestry of Canadian identity that transcends geographical boundaries.

Key Steps for a More Inclusive Framework:

  1. Repealing the Second-Generation Cut-Off: As Justice Akbarali ordered, this discriminatory provision must be removed from the Citizenship Act to ensure equal rights for all Canadians.
  2. Prioritizing Inclusivity: The Act needs to be amended to reflect a commitment to inclusivity and non-discrimination. This means recognizing diverse expressions of Canadian identity and fostering a sense of belonging for all, regardless of their place of birth or lineage.
  3. Empowering Families: Streamlining processes for families to acquire and transmit citizenship will strengthen intergenerational ties and ensure equal opportunity for all Canadians.
  4. Open and Transparent Dialogue: A national conversation about the future of Canadian citizenship is essential. This dialogue should involve diverse voices and perspectives to ensure a comprehensive and inclusive approach.


The Ontario Superior Court's decision represents a significant victory for inclusivity and equal rights in Canada. It serves as a reminder that citizenship is not solely defined by birthplace but by a shared commitment to shared values and principles. By embracing diversity and recognizing the inherent worth of all individuals, Canada can truly live up to its ideals of inclusivity and justice. This landmark decision presents a unique opportunity to redefine what it means to be Canadian, creating a more just and welcoming society for generations to come.

Pelican Migration Consultants: Navigating the New Waters of Canadian Citizenship

The recent Ontario Superior Court ruling overturning the second-generation cut-off in the Citizenship Act has created a wave of hope for families separated by borders. With legal implications still unfolding, the path towards Canadian citizenship might feel uncertain. This is where Pelican Migration Consultants comes in, acting as your compass in this evolving landscape.

Our deep understanding of immigration law, coupled with years of experience, makes us your trusted guide through this pivotal moment. Whether you're a Canadian citizen born outside the country, a first-generation parent with children abroad, or simply seeking clarity on the ruling's impact, we're here to provide:

  1. Expert Analysis: Our team of expert immigration consultants in Dubai carefully dissects the court's decision and its potential implications for your specific situation. We break down the legalese to give you a clear picture of how the changes may affect your journey to Canadian citizenship.
  2. Personalized Roadmap: We don't believe in one-size-fits-all solutions. We assess your unique circumstances and tailor a strategy that optimizes your chances of securing citizenship for yourself and your family.
  3. Streamlined Navigation: No need to get lost in mountains of paperwork. We handle every application with meticulous attention to detail, ensuring accuracy and efficiency throughout the process.
  4. Unwavering Support: We're your constant companion on this journey. We answer your questions, address your concerns, and offer guidance every step of the way, until you proudly hold that Canadian passport in your hands.

This groundbreaking ruling marks a new chapter in Canada's story of inclusivity. At Pelican Migration Consultants, we celebrate this shift towards a more welcoming nation and stand ready to empower families to become a part of it.