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

Daniel Levy
Published: June 2, 2022

June is Pride Month, a time to celebrate diversity in gender and sexuality and recognize the unique struggles faced by marginalized groups. Although Canadian law now stipulates it is illegal to discriminate against people based on sexual orientation and sex, sometimes same-sex, gender-diverse, and intersex couples still fall through the cracks. For instance, up until two years ago, Canadian same-sex couples and couples with fertility issues had a particular loophole to jump through if they had children overseas.

Same-sex marriages have been legal in Canada since 2005. But before July 2020, Canadians had to be biological parents in order to pass down citizenship to their foreign-born children. That was until the Superior Court of Quebec ruled that legal parents of foreign-born children could also be included in the Citizenship Act's definition of "parent."

This ruling would allow same-sex couples to pass down citizenship regardless which partner shared a genetic link with their child. The case was headed by Elsje van der Ven and Laurence Caron, who fought and won the ability to get citizenship for their son.

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Under the old rules, the couple could only get Canadian citizenship for one of their two children. Van der Ven is a Dutch national who gave birth to their first-born son, while Caron is Canadian and later gave birth to their daughter. Because at the time legal parents could not pass citizenship down to their foreign-born children, their son was not eligible for Canadian citizenship but their daughter was.

Quebec's Superior Court ruling allowed LGBTQ2+ couples and couples with fertility issues to have the same rights to citizenship as their counterparts.

Canada now allows legal and biological parents to pass citizenship to their children who were born outside of the country, as long as the parents had Canadian citizenship at the time of the child’s birth. Once Canadian citizenship has been passed down, however, it cannot be passed down again. So if the child of a first-generation Canadian was born abroad, their children will not automatically get Canadian citizenship if born outside Canada.

In order to prove a child born abroad to a Canadian parent has the right to citizenship, you need a proof of citizenship. Also called a citizenship certificate, these documents allow you to obtain all the benefits of being a Canadian citizen.

A proof of citizenship can be applied for at any age. An experienced immigration lawyer can submit a complete and accurate proof of citizenship application on your behalf.

Get a Free Legal Consultation on Applying for Proof of Canadian Citizenship

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