Canada could limit assistance to citizens abroad

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Canada is considering limiting the rights of dual citizens who live outside the country or travel on a foreign passport, including not providing consular assistance.

Senior bureaucrats have advised the government that many Canadian passport holders had little connection to the country and were “citizens of convenience”, according to a briefing document prepared for the Foreign Affairs department and obtained by the national newspaper The Globe and Mail.

The advisers suggest the government impose conditions on dual-citizen Canadians living abroad so they have to qualify before receiving consular assistance.

They could be forced to pay more taxes or be banned from having a Canadian driving licence or bank account in the North American country.

The stricter rules are aimed at dual citizens but could also impact Canadians who live outside the country for more than five years.

It is estimated 2.8m Canadians live abroad, with at least 40,000 in the UAE.

“Consideration could be given to the feasibility of approaches used by other countries such as the imposition of a residency requirement or a tax contribution obligation as a condition to be eligible for assistance abroad,” senior civil servants say in the briefing book.

It also suggests placing restrictions on help given to Canadians with citizenship who travel abroad on another country’s passport.

“Consideration could also be given to differentiating levels of service provided to dual nationals who choose not to use a Canadian passport when travelling or living abroad,” the briefing says.

The suggestions have been made to help the country manage its scare resources as the federal government scales back spending in a bid to move out of debt by 2015.

Foreign Affairs has been asked to help Canadian citizens in 50 international crises in 36 countries in one recent 15-month period alone, the newspaper said.

The department says it is called upon thousands of times to help Canadians in trouble abroad, but the demands are becoming increasingly onerous.

“The sheer number, scope and complexity of consular cases and international crises … [and] the vagaries of country conditions where our citizens travel and live underline the importance of ensuring that the available consular resources are managed appropriately,” the briefing says.

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Posted by: Proud Internationalist

Maybe they should cut "long term expatriate" Canadians off from consular support too since if you live abroad long enough to qualify for PERMANENT RESIDENT status or even CITIZENSHIP, then you shouldn't be able to access that support. Maybe travel abroad should also be a "You pay your money and you take your chances" and there should be no such help for anyone.

Posted by: debbie

great, now lets get all the canadians out of the US, most who work illegally, or move in to give birth so that they can give their children US passports. Before Detroit went bust there were Canadians swarming the place, and because they can pass as Caucasian Americans, they could do so without being found out.

Everyone return home !

Posted by: procan

North America is a whole different ball of wax Debbie very few Canadians are illegally in the US we can own property there as my own family dose and pay taxes there and in Canada and they own property here we a both first world nations with common laws and customs we have laws that protect each other we also have worlds greatest free trade agreement in place NAFTA and people and knowledge flow freely over our borders no counties on Earth are more together. If you as your UAE employers say don't like it push off, enjoy your new life in chosen paradice. Real Canadians live in Canada eh!

Posted by: Exiled Expat

Born in Canada as was my father and father before him. Don't have dual citizenship but as I have worked overseas in various posts this would affect me. I don't use any services from Canada anyway, but it is my home country and I suppose I will return one day.

I send no money back to Canada because if I were to I could be deemed resident and be libel for taxes on world income. I'm fine with a no services, no tax model. To be honest though if I were able to own property in Canada I would likely send 90% of my disposable income back to Canada. As it is I am looking for other countries to purchase property in, etc.

A final question, does that also mean poor people who don't pay taxes are not "real" Canadians either?

Posted by: Ronald Burbank

This is unfair. Canadians should not be limited or threatened with further taxes for living abroad and for getting consular services.

As an entrepreneur, I don't live in Canada, but I do help the economy by hiring many Canadians for different projects. It's a global world now and being a Canadian gives me the advantage of bringing back some of that money from different parts of the world back into Canada. If Canadians stop thinking globally they will lose this race.

Those who take advantage of the citizenship by just collecting cheques from the government overseas should be investigated. I am not supporting that. (Although I highly doubt that is even possible, because in order to get those checks you need to be in the country!)

I'd rather have a job and be making money outside Canada, than be just sitting jobless in Canada and collecting checks from social assistance and wasting tax payers money.

Posted by: Robert Scott

About time the shocking abuse of Canadian citizenship was addressed. The world is full of people who hold one of the most respected passports in the world, contribute nothing to Canada's economy yet fully expect to be treated like first-class citizens when they are in trouble.

Canada has been a soft touch for far too long. If you want to come here, become a real Canadian: pay taxes, adopt our language(s) and customs and be proud of that passport which represents many generations of honesty, integrity and hard work.

Posted by: procan

Hey Robert spot on ...Go Team Canada Go. Canadians live in Canada period. This is as people who live here is the excepted and common view. We expect our Government to close all legal loop holes to Citizens of convinence.

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