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NATURALIZATION OR CITIZENSHIP - Loss of or disqualification from citizenship

Tuesday, June 05, 2018 @ 8:27 AM  

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Application by Timothy Vavilov for judicial review of the refusal of his application for a certificate of Canadian citizenship. Vavilov was born in Canada in 1994. In 2010, while living with his family in the United States, Vavilov learned his parents were Russian espionage agents when FBI agents entered the family home and arrested his parents. Vavilov and his brother Alexander were forced to return to Russia to live. The Registrar cancelled Vavilov's Canadian citizenship because his parents were neither citizens nor permanent residents and were employed by the Russian government. Vavilov attempted to renew his Canadian passport in 2011. He was informed he was required to apply for a Canadian citizenship certificate before any passport could be issued. His application for a certificate was denied in 2014. In Alexander’s case, the Federal Court of Appeal quashed the Registrar's decision to cancel his Canadian citizenship certificate. That decision was appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada and remained pending. Vavilov argued that the process was unfair and that s. 3(2)(a) of the Citizenship Act was unreasonable and contrary to s. 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter).

HELD: Application allowed. Vavilov was born in Canada to parents who were neither Canadian citizens nor permanent residents and were not accredited diplomats in Canada and never benefited from diplomatic immunity. The fact that Vavilov's parents did not benefit from diplomatic immunity meant they were not “other representatives or employees in Canada of a foreign government.” Vavilov did not, therefore, come within the exception in s. 3(2)(a) and, having been born in Canada after February 14, 1977, was a citizen of Canada. The Charter challenge was unnecessary.

Vavilov v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), [2018] F.C.J. No. 455, Federal Court, P.K. Gleeson J., April 25, 2018. Digest No. TLD-June42018004