In her lawsuit filed Monday in Federal Court in Vancouver, British Columbia, Jacquie Scott said she learned 10 years ago she wasn't officially Canadian even though she was raised in Canada, CBC News reported.
Observers said her fight for Canadian citizenship could set a precedent for those who call themselves "lost Canadians."
Scott says 10 years ago she discovered she wasn't officially a Canadian, even though she was raised in Canada by her Canadian father.
Scott says she never questioned her citizenship growing up in Ontario in the 1950s and '60s and even voted in elections.
"How can you vote if you're not a citizen? I did," said Scott.
The trouble began when, while living in the United States with her husband, Scott requested a citizenship certificate and was turned down by the Canadian Department of Citizenship and Immigration, the CBC said.
She said she was given several reasons why she didn't qualify for Canadian citizenship: She was born in Britain to an unmarried, non-Canadian woman (they married later and lived in Canada) and her father wasn't officially Canadian at the time she was conceived because Canadian citizenship status gained legal recognition in 1947. Before that Canadians were considered British subjects.
Don Chapman, an advocate working with Scott, said he thinks her case challenges the government's resistance to recognize so-called lost Canadians.
"This is a concerted effort to go against their own people. And why? I don't understand. It makes no sense whatsoever," Chapman said.
Raji Mangat, a British Columbia Civil Liberties Association lawyer, told the CBC the government must amend its law to include children born to Canadians abroad before 1947.
"Children born abroad to Canadians should be Canadians, plain and simple. It doesn't matter if your parents were married or what the gender of your Canadian parent is," Mangat said.
A Citizenship and Immigration representative didn't discuss specifics of Scott's case but said she was among a small number of people in a similar situation and that legislation that would recognize their status could be filed soon.