Till 1947, any person borne in Canada was considered a British citizen. In Feb, 1977, a rule was introduced that any person borne to Canadian parent outside Canada could claim right to Canadian Citizenship till he attains age of 28 years.
In 2007, the rule was amended again to allow that the children born to Canadian Parents as well as adopted children could straightway become Canadian Citizens without having to go through the Permanent Resident Status
In 2009, the law was changed against to allow for retrospective citizenship to persons who either were denied citizenship earlier or who had never applied, to war brides or children to Canadian Officials, or soldiers posted abroad. The requirement of applying for citizenship before the age of 28 years was also done away with. In June 2015, vide Bill C-24, the Government was empowered to revoke the Canadian citizenship of persons holding dual citizenship and convicted of serious offences, including terrorism. This provision of removing the citizenship of the persons holding dual citizenship if convicted of terrorism is currently being proposed to be removed.
The Problem arose as though in 2009, the law as made in 1977 was rescinded, it was not made effective retrospectively and therefore, those desirous of retaining it were to apply before the age of 28. Those who could not apply were no longer entitled to this benefit.
Most Canadians were not aware of this rule- Another problem that was faced by applicants who wanted to become Canadian citizens by virtue of this rule, was that these laws and its amendments were never publicized and they came to know of it only once they had applied for citizenship. Though Immigration Minister did not comment on this, spokeswoman in his office replied that the concerned applicants were communicated by email, whenever they had applied. But what about those who could not apply before reaching age of 28?
In fact many persons who applied for citizenship after the age of 28 were very rudely advised to leave the country voluntarily lest they would be deported. Hiring an expert lawyer to fight deportation request does not come cheap and not all such affected persons can afford the same
Once a Canadian, always a Canadian rule never applied to them
The problem faced by Canadian Government was it never had the data of such children born abroad or any contact to reach them. Therefore, at this stage, it has no idea about the numbers of people affected by this rule.
Way forward for those affected now- The Immigration Minister Canada has discretionary authority to grant citizenship in “cases of special and unusual hardship”. A spokeswoman in his office when contacted advised such persons to apply to him.