Trudeau government set to unveil immigration reforms
The federal Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to roll out changes to the country’s immigration laws in the coming days.
Immigration Minister John McCallum has said that details will be announced soon.
Trudeau said during the election campaign that he would scrap the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, also known as Bill C-24, the law passed by the previous Conservative government.
The bill, among other things, allowed the government to revoke the citizenship of dual citizens convicted of terrorism.
Trudeau said during the campaign that “a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian,” even if they engaged in terrorist activities.
For his part, McCallum said that Liberal MPs are urging him to eliminate the language requirement for those seeking Canadian citizenship.
Newcomers are required to learn basic English or French.
“We are in general trying to reduce the barriers people have to overcome to become a citizen,” McCallum said in an interview on CBC.
McCallum said the Liberal government has two main goals when it comes to making its changes to the Citizenship Act.
“We would make it impossible for the government to take away someone’s citizenship, and we would reduce the barriers currently in place that people have to overcome,” he said.
One of those barriers is a test to prove language proficiency in English or French. Bill C-24 expanded the age range for people required to take that test, to those aged 14 to 64 from a range of 18 to 54.
McCallum hinted the government is considering restoring the original age limit, among other changes.
“We could bring it back to [age] 54,” he said. “That’s an adjustment at the margin on the grounds that some older people coming to this country may not be fully proficient in English, although their children will be and their grandchildren certainly will be.”
“It’s one of the things we are potentially considering,” he added.
But McCallum made clear the government has no plans to scrap the language testing.
“I think you could call it tweaks to the system, and certainly not ditching the system.”