LGBTQ2+ couples can now pass down Canadian citizenship to their foreign-born children

Shelby Thevenot, Alexandra Miekus
Published: July 9, 2020

Foreign-born children whose Canadian parents are not biologically related to them now have the same right to citizenship as children birthed by Canadians.

Before the Superior Court of Quebec’s ruling today, July 9, the Citizenship Act only allowed for foreign-born children to be automatically recognized as citizens if they shared a genetic link to a Canadian parent. This archaic definition of “parent” made it difficult for the children of LGBTQ2+ couples and couples with fertility issues to get Canadian citizenship status.

The change was lead by Elsje van der Ven and Laurence Caron, a same-sex couple whose son, Benjamin, was initially denied Canadian citizenship. Caron, who is Canadian, could not get citizenship for her son because her wife, van der Ven, is his biological mother and a Dutch citizen. Since van der Ven is not Canadian, Benjamin was not recognized as having a Canadian parent even if Caron was also his mom, legally and emotionally.

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Radio Canada reported that Caron later gave birth to a daughter who was automatically granted citizenship, further highlighting the absurdity of the legal loophole since in Caron’s eyes they are both equally her children.

The couple went through the court system to seek a solution so that parents who use assisted human reproduction can be considered equal to biological parents in citizenship law.

"This is a huge change for us. Benjamin now has access to citizenship and a Canadian passport," Laurence Caron wrote to CIC News in French. "This will facilitate our travels, and give us the opportunity to move to Canada if the opportunity arises. Personally, it is also a recognition of my role as a mother to Benjamin and a recognition of my family as having the same rights as all families."

Canada's immigration ministry boasted the victory in a media release.

"I am very happy to announce this historic and positive declaration made by Quebec's Superior Court," read a quote attributed to Canada's immigration minister Marco Mendicino, "Canadian LGBTQ2+ families and parents experiencing fertility issues have waited too long for this important day."

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