AN INTRODUCTION TO PROS & CONS OF DUAL CITIZENSHIP
By Ed Corrigan - Special to the Friday Magazine
THE CANADIAN ISLAMIC CONGRESS
The recent crisis in the Middle East has highlighted the issue of dual citizenship.
There are some individuals who are Canadian citizens, but also are citizens or nationals of
another country. When the current hostilities broke out, at least 40,000 Canadians were either
visiting Lebanon or residing there on a temporary or permanent basis. There are also Canadians
who are citizens of Israel.
The Canadian government has undertaken to provide assistance to its citizens who are trapped
in the Lebanese war zone to help them escape to safety. Unlike the American government,
Canada is not charging them for their removal to safety. Since there is currently no difficulty in
leaving Israel, there is no special program in place for removing Canadians from Israel.
The law of Citizenship Canada was amended on February 14, 1977 to make it possible for
Canadians to hold dual citizenship. Typically, a Canadian citizen has the right to enter and reside
in Canada. Other rights include full mobility rights in Canada, the right to work, and access to all
services normally available to citizens. There are also obligations, such as determining which
country you are a resident in for taxation purposes.
As well, access to some services requires a period of residence. For example, in order to receive
medical coverage in Ontario under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), one has to be
resident in the province for at least three months.
In the global community, there are many people who hold the nationality of more than one
country. Until relatively recently, it was impossible in the United States to hold citizenship in more
than one country. The American Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) states that a U.S. citizen
over the age of 18 "shall lose his nationality by voluntarily performing any of the following acts
with the intention of relinquishing United States natio