York University Libraries | Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections online exhibits

40 Years of Canadian Citizenship

Before 1947, Canadians were considered British subjects living in Canada. The Canadian Citizenship Act, 1946 redefined Canadian citizenship as being acquired at birth (either in Canada or through Canadian parents) or through naturalization (three years as a Canadian immigrant). The Canadian Citizenship Act, 1946 came into effect January 1, 1947. Prior to the Act, a married woman’s nationality status could be gained or lost based on the nationality of her husband. The 1987 button commemorates 40 years of Canadian citizenship. The maple leaf is a Canadian symbol that is believed to be used since 1700.

Jean Augustine discusses the 40 years of Canadian Citizenship button.

Forty Years of Canadian Citizenship: that again was out by the department. '47-'87. That celebration-- and 1947 was important because 1947 was the year when we started with Canadian citizenship, because as you know, before that we were British subjects. And again, the play on the differences: different colours, different shapes, different sizes.

Canadian Heritage (2013). The Maple Leaf. Retrieved from: http://www.pch.gc.ca/eng/1363626184104/1363626227047

Gray, J. & Gill, J. Citizenship. In The Canadian Encyclopedia (2011 ed.). Retrieved from http://thecanadianencyclopedia.com/en/article/citizenship/.

Girard, P. (2013). 'If two ride a horse, one must ride in front': Married women's nationality and the law in Canada 1880-1950. Canadian Historical Review, 94(1), 28-54.