Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
June 2005

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


Naturalization in Canada


[This article was published in 1948; for the exact citation, see the end of the text. Note that much of the information provided below is not applicable in Canada any more. The information is provided here for historical study of the situation in the period of 1935-1947.]

Naturalization. Every person born in Canada is a Canadian unless he or she has subsequently become the citizen of another country [Canadian law now accepts dual citizenship]. Similarly any person born in the United Kingdom or in any of the British Dominions or dependencies, who has not subsequently become the citizen of another country, and who is now permanently domiciled in Canada, is a Canadian [this clause is not applicable any more]. Similarly also, any person born in a foreign country, but whose home is now in Canada, and who has become a naturalized citizen of Canada, is a Canadian. Canadian domicile can only be acquired for the purposes of the Immigration Act by a person having his domicile for at least five years in Canada after having been landed therein [now this is three years].


The law of Canada relating to nationality is contained in the Immigration Act of 1927, under which a Canadian by nationality is defined as: (1) A person born in Canada who has not become an alien; (2) a British subject who has Canadian domicile; (3) a person naturalized under the laws of Canada who has not subsequently become an alien or lost Canadian domicile. A child of Canadian parents domiciled in a foreign country retains Canadian nationality up to the age of 21 years, and should he become domiciled in Canada prior to that age does not require to be naturalized.


The foreign-born residents of Canada numbered 1,122,695 in 1931; among these the naturalized numbered 614,971.


By an amendment passed in 1923, the restriction by which persons of alien enemy birth were ineligible to receive certificates of naturalization for a period of ten years after the termination of the World War was removed, and at the present time any alien may apply for naturalization, regardless of his nationality. Since January 15, 1932, women British subjects on marrying aliens may by declaration retain their British nationality, if they have not by marriage acquired their husbands' nationalities; and the wives of aliens, no longer become British subjects through their husbands' naturalization; they must apply to the secretary of state. Consult Alfred Howell, Naturalization and nationality in Canada (Toronto, 1884), and Alexander Smith, How aliens may be naturalized (Ottawa, 1921).

Source: W. Stewart WALLACE, ed., The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. IV, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 400p., p. 385.

© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College