Happy New Year!
On today’s date in 1947, the Canadian Citizenship Act came into effect under the government of Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King.
Before this point, people born in Canada, as well as naturalized immigrants, were considered British subjects rather than Canadian citizens; however, the Canadian Citizenship Act defined Canadian citizenship and allowed residents of the country to obtain citizenship regardless of their country of origin.
According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, the act gave legal recognition to the terms “Canadian citizen” and “Canadian citizenship.”
“The Act established who was and who could become a Canadian citizen. There were many provisions for loss of citizenship, including retention provisions for the first and subsequent generations born outside Canada. The Act also contained provisions which provided special treatment for British subjects. In general, Canadian citizens who acquired citizenship of another country automatically lost Canadian citizenship (dual citizenship was not recognized).”
1947 & BEYOND
In 1977, the Citizenship Act replaced the 1947 Canadian Citizenship Act with “a more equitable statute.” The Citizenship Act also received two amendments (one in 2007 and another in 2009). More recently, in 2014-15, the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act (Bill C-24) came into effect.
CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP STAMP
On July 1, 1947, Canada’s Post Office Department (now Canada Post) issued a four-cent deep blue stamp celebrating Canadian citizenship (Scott #275). It was also the 80th anniversary of Canadian Confederation.
“This act, a development of great importance in Canadian constitutional history, gives a clear and simple definition of Canadian citizenship,” reads the post office’s promotional material, released in 1947. “The act also provides an underlying community of status for all peoples of Canada, binding them together as Canadians. In the design, Canadian citizenship is personified by the figure of a youth standing with upraised hand and arm on the northern portion of the Western Hemisphere. The geographical outline of Canada is broadly indicated at his feet.”
The stamp was designed by Alan Brookman Beddoe; modelled by Herman Herbert Schwartz; and engraved by Silas Robert Allen. Printed by the Canadian Bank Note Company, the stamp measures 26 millimetres by 38 millimetres (vertical).