Much has been said of the rights and privileges people enjoy in Canada. It is for this reason that permanent residence is a highly-coveted status amongst immigrants. Even temporary foreign workers and students can enjoy the protection of Canadian law as well as provincial health care coverage.
As a permanent resident, you may already be aware of the privileges your status brings you. Nonetheless, if you want to get the most out of your country, you may want to consider an “upgrade” to your status in Canada.
Canadian citizens enjoy the same rights and privileges permanent residents do…AND MORE.
If you are curious or if you are trying to decide whether to apply for citizenship, this article might help you.
Being a Canadian citizen has a laundry list of perks. Here are 10 of them:
Benefit 1: You Can Vote
It may be true that many benefits are shared by permanent residents and Canadian citizens. Both have access to Canada’s public health care. For minors, primary education is subsidized in most Canadian provinces and territories. As well, neither have to leave the country after the expiration of a visa.
Canada prides itself on being a democratic country where the rights of citizens (and permanent residents) are exercised and protected. That said, one benefit separates a permanent resident from a Canadian citizen- the right to vote. In the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the right to suffrage is reserved for citizens of Canada.
As per section 3 of the charter, Canadian citizens may vote for members of the House of Commons. In other words, citizens can vote for ministers. As well, Canadian citizens may elect local officials who they see fit to oversee the affairs of their city or province.
Hence, if you are the type of person who takes the matter of nation-building to heart, Canadian citizenship may be a worthwhile goal for your immigration to Canada.
In this article, you can learn more about immigration and how it relates to whether or not you can vote.
Benefit 2: You May Run For Political Office
When it comes to democratic rights, it can go both ways for Canadian citizens.
That is, Canadians may vote and Canadians may be voted for. According to the Canadian Charter On Rights and Freedoms, Canadian citizens may also “stand for election”. This means that citizenship (among other things) can make a person eligible to run for election.
Canadian citizens may run for positions at both the municipal level and federal level of government. Run for political office, and you can find yourself providing representation to citizens and residents on issues like taxation, universal health care, and education.
The prospect of influencing Canadian affairs might just be something you are interested in. If this is the case, read this article to learn more about whether or not an immigrant could be the Prime Minister of Canada.
Benefit 3: You Can Easily Travel To More Than 150 Countries (Including the United States)
Another benefit of Canadian citizenship is the possession of a Canadian passport.
The Canadian passport is one of the most powerful passports in the world. It is powerful in the sense that having it alone allows Canadians to travel to many countries visa-free.
According to Passport Index, a Canadian passport allows for visa-free travel to more than 168 countries. In particular, travellers who have Canadian passports can freely and without additional paperwork enter roughly 111 countries. One of these countries is the United States that allows Canadians to stay for up to 182 days without paying income tax (to the US).
The remaining countries allow Canadian passport holders to apply for a visa upon arrival. As well, with a Canadian passport, these applications can be approved on the spot by immigration officers.
For these reasons, the Canadian passport has a mobility score of 108. This score indicates that the passport makes holders eligible to enter more than 100 countries without a pre-arranged visa. This makes the Canadian passport one of the top 10 passports in the world today.
In short, this passport can be helpful if you are a frequent traveller.
Benefit 4: You Can Easily Re-Enter Canada
Citizens can easily travel with their Canadian passports, as mentioned earlier. Likewise, Canadians can also enjoy a hassle-free re-entry process when they return to Canada.
Permanent residents do not have Canadian passports so they might need to present their home country’s passport and other travel documents when they return to Canada. Indeed, barring anything that makes a permanent resident inadmissible, a border officer may allow a resident to enter Canada.
At times, however, having this combination of documents may not be sufficient to be admitted into the border. Even temporary residents like international students or temporary foreign workers need to have eTAs on their passports. They also need proof of their status in Canada if they want to return to the country from a short vacation overseas.
By contrast, Canadian citizens can easily re-enter Canada due to their status.
Benefit 5: Re-Entry Into Canada During COVID-19
The expected rollouts worldwide of the COVID-19 vaccine might be a positive sign.
Be that as it may, at the time of writing, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to numerous border closures, limiting international travel.
The same has been the case for Canada. The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted IRCC and the CBSA to exercise more stringent restrictions at the border. As a result, most travellers to the country may only enter if their purpose is deemed “essential” by border and immigration officers.
In short, travel to Canada is limited now despite the gradual lifting of sanctions and restrictions. Other than permanent residents and temporary residents travelling for “essential purposes”, Canadian citizens can easily re-enter the country even amidst the current COVID-19 pandemic.
For citizens to re-enter, all that is required is a quarantine plan even if he or she has no obvious symptoms. Citizens and travellers need to present this to the border officer upon arrival.
To learn more about the travel restrictions of Canada during this time, visit the Canadian government’s site.
Benefit 6: You May Stay Out Of Canada Without Losing Your Citizenship
Legally speaking, it is not possible to lose your citizenship in Canada once you have attained it. In rare cases, this may be possible but only if the Crown proves that you have falsified your documents or information to get citizenship status.
Unlike permanent residents who may only be out of the country for no more than three years within a five-year period, Canadian citizens can stay out of the country for a longer period of time without losing their status.
The only thing to consider is provincial health coverage. All Canadian provinces and territories (including Quebec) offer citizens and permanent residents health insurance subsidized by the Canadian government. However, to be eligible, Canadian provinces and territories (including Quebec) have residency requirements.
This means that you need to stay for a certain time in a province or territory to be covered by health insurance.
Different provinces have different requirements that allow Canadians and permanent residents to be gone for some time.
In other words, the issue of health coverage aside, you will not lose your Canadian citizenship for staying abroad for a long period of time.
Benefit 7: Canadian Citizenship Is Permanent
Being a permanent resident requires meeting certain residency requirements set by the province of one’s residence and the Federal Government. Failure to meet any of these may result in losing health care coverage or one’s permanent residence status.
On the other hand, Canadian citizens do not need to meet requirements to keep their citizenship even if citizenship was gained via naturalization. In fact, the Canadian Citizenship Act of 1985 maintains in section 7 that citizens of Canada cannot cease to be citizens.
According to the same section, the loss of one’s citizenship can only occur through renunciation. That is, if you are a citizen of Canada, you cannot legally lose your status unless you choose to give up your citizenship.
For naturalized citizens, losing citizenship is only a remote possibility if the Crown finds a citizen guilty of immigration fraud.
In short, once you officially become a Canadian, you will always be a Canadian.
Benefit 8: You Might Have More Job Opportunities In Canada
Permanent residents and temporary residents flock to Canada for many reasons and one of them is work.
Indeed, Canada has been one of several countries immigrants go to looking for work. This is a sign that the country may have numerous job openings in various sectors. A look at Job Bank can give you an idea of openings in the agricultural, construction, and tech sectors.
In general, most jobs in Canada require language skills, work experience, and training. For Canadian citizens, the options for work become much wider.
Other than the basic qualifications mentioned, there are several jobs in Canada that have citizenship as a requirement. These jobs are usually in the public sector.
Jobs in government agencies like Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada have citizenship as a requirement alongside others like language skills, education, and work experience. To apply for work in the Canadian Revenue Service (CRA), you also need to be a Canadian citizen.
Enlisting in the Canadian military also requires Canadian citizenship. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is also open to Canadians although permanent residents may also apply to be among its ranks.
While Canadian citizenship may not guarantee getting a job, it does open up more opportunities for you if you have it. Effectively, Canadian citizenship can make you eligible for nearly all jobs.
This can be one more reason for you to consider taking that Canadian citizenship test.
Benefit 9: If Abroad, You May Benefit From Consular Support
As a Canadian citizen, you have more freedom and ease to travel abroad, as mentioned earlier. Once abroad, you might find yourself in a situation where you need assistance. If this occurs, you can seek the aid or services at a Canadian embassy or consulate in the country you are in.
At the time of writing, there is a Canadian consulate or embassy in more than 100 countries. These countries belong to many parts of Europe, Africa, Central and Southeast Asia, and the South Pacific region.
As a citizen of Canada, these embassies and consulates can help you if:
- You run into problems in the country.
- You lose your passport or other important documents.
- You need emergency assistance.
- Someone you know has gone missing.
- You need urgent assistance in contacting someone in Canada.
These are some of the situations Canadian embassies and consulates address. You can bet on the assistance of an embassy or consulate if you are a Canadian citizen.
Benefit 10: You Can Make Things Easier For Your Next Generation Of Canadians
Before becoming a Canadian citizen, you may have to apply and wait for the approval of your citizenship application. Following this, you may have to sit-in for the Canadian Citizenship Test, a test you would do well to prepare for. After passing, you can become a citizen of Canada.
This process can take some time. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, the waiting times may be a bit longer due to IRCC’s offices operating at a limited capacity.
Even if things go back to normal in the future, many Canadian citizens want the road to citizenship shorter for their children.
By law, the child of a Canadian citizen automatically receives citizenship if born in Canada. This means that they would not have to go through the same process of applying for citizenship. As well, if you have gained citizenship and your children live abroad, they may be Canadian citizens too.
Canadian citizens enjoy some of the most extensive benefits of any citizen. The perks of being a citizen of the country go beyond being able to find more jobs.
As a citizen of Canada, you will be able to contribute to the country’s peace and prosperity. You will be able to do so in a manner not available to permanent residents. By being able to vote, you will be able to have a say in how your new country is run.
If you wish to be on the receiving end of these votes, being a citizen helps too. Being a Canadian citizen is one of several prerequisites for anyone who wishes to run for office.
Citizenship is also good news if you are a frequent traveller. With your Canadian passport, you can freely travel to more than 100 countries without the hassle of pre-applying for a visa. Also, with this passport as proof of your status, you can avail of the support of your embassy or consulate.
Last but surely not least, your status stays with you even without having to meet any requirements to keep it. If that isn’t inviting enough, being a citizen can lead to your children acquiring the same status- whether they are born in Canada or not.
Try to keep all of these in mind as you envision yourself passing your citizenship test and proudly singing “O Canada”.