Ontario Man Not Considered ‘Canadian’ Enough for Citizenship After Living in Canada for 27 Years

Apparently growing up in Canada and living here for almost three decades isn’t enough to make you Canadian.

Despite spending his childhood, teens, and early adulthood in Canada, an Ontario man has been told that the 27 years of living in our home and native land isn’t enough to make him ‘Canadian’ enough for citizenship.

How un-Canadian, right?

An immigration judge has told 33-year-old Jonathan Kuiper that he doesn’t meet the necessary criteria for Canadian citizenship. Kuiper – originally from the Netherlands – spent his entire life up until his late twenties within a few hours of Toronto, grew up partaking in Canadian pastimes, proudly sung ‘O Canada’, and attended York University.

His family moved from the Netherlands to the town of Aylmer, Ont. when he was just 14 months old.

“My entire life I’ve always identified (and) understood myself to be Canadian,” says Kuiper, according to Global News.

A few years ago, he moved back to the Netherlands to get his Masters degree. He then returned to Canada but left shortly after for work, first to Norway, then back to the Netherlands. He says that the job couldn’t be found here.

Leaving Canada, however, meant unknowingly kissing his chance at Canadian citizenship goodbye.

It didn’t occur to Kuiper to apply for citizenship until 2013, while he was living in Europe and fuelled by a desire to vote in the 2015 federal election. After a lengthy application process last February, Kuiper was denied citizenship.

“I was short in my application about 597 days and the case law he cited was that I had not “been Canadianized,” said Kuiper, according to Global News. At the time, the Citizenship Act required that an applicant must spend three out of four years in Canada before applying for citizenship. It now, however, requires individuals to have spent four out of the last six years in Canada.

Either way, Kuiper doesn’t meet the criteria.

But still.

“I had actually asked my lawyer, ‘how often have you seen this?’,” says Kuiper, to which he replied, “you know, I’ve never heard of this before.” While he waited word back on his application for citizenship, Kuiper’s permanent resident card expired.

He’s appealing that, but the process can take up to two years and he won’t be allowed to return to Canada in the meantime.

This means that he is unable to spend time with his family, including his 69-year-old father, who isn’t in the best of health. Come September, his only option to see his family is if they come to visit him in Amsterdam.

Kuiper has written to federal Citizenship and Immigration Minister John McCallum, begging him to re-instate his landed immigrant status and to approve of his Canadian citizenship application. It’s possible; the reforms made to the Canadian Citizenship Act two years ago allow the minister to personally grant citizenship on a “discretionary and case-by-case basis,” according to Global News.

Hopefully Kuiper’s case can be a reality check for those long-time Canadian residents who have yet to apply for citizenship.

In the meantime, there are worse places to live than Amsterdam.