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So you're a Canadian citizen. Congratulations. Either you've scaled paperwork mountain, done the time and paid the money, or you were born lucky. Now you get the healthcare and the hockey and all of the maple syrup you want. But perhaps you'd prefer to work in a different part of the world, one with explosive economic growth or a more amenable climate or fewer restrictions on public alcohol consumption. Are there actually advantages to giving up Canadian citizenship in favour of a different arrangement?

It may surprise those born in Canada to learn that there are several situations where it might make sense to ditch the maple leaf passport for a different document, but there are. Check them out:

 

1. The country you desire to live in won't allow dual citizenship

This is the big one. Canada permits dual citizenship – that is, you can maintain or acquire Canadian citizenship while becoming or remaining a citizen of another nation. It doesn't always work both ways, though. If you want to live, work and vote in a country other than Canada that doesn't permit dual citizenship, you're going to have to turn in the red and white. You can find a list of those countries, and learn more about dual citizenship in Canada, here.

 

2. Taxes

Naturally. Canadian taxes are high. It's not a secret. While we don't make top ten lists of global income tax rates:

  1. Aruba: 58.95 percent for those with income of at least $171,149
  2. Sweden: 56.6 percent for those with income of at least $85,841
  3. Denmark: 55.38 percent for those with income of at least $70,633
  4. Netherlands: 52 percent for those with income of at least $70,090
  5. Belgium: 50 percent for those with income of at least $45,037
  6. Austria: 50 percent for those with income of at least $74,442
  7. Japan: 50 percent for those with income of at least $228,880
  8. United Kingdom: 50 percent for those with income of at least $234,484
  9. Finland: 49.2 percent for those with income of at least $87,222
  10. Ireland: 48 percent for those with income of at least $40,69

we do make top forty countries and territories of relative tax burdens for those earning US$100,000 (out of 95 territories reporting):

Belgium: 47% Luxembourg: 40.4% Ireland: 36% Peru: 32.5% Samoa: 30% Panama: 27.% Indonesia: 25.1% Guernsey: 23.1% Ukraine: 17.7% Albania: 10%
Greece: 46.5% Netherlands: 40.3% Latvia: 36% Argentina: 32% Vietnam: 30% Cyprus: 26.8% Gibraltar: 25.1% Macedonia: 22.7% Switzerland: 17.7% Kuwait: 8.1%
Croatia: 46.3% Portugal: 39.9% Guatemala: 35.8% Hungary: 31.9% Malawi: 30% Chile: 26.5% China: 24.7% South Korea: 22.5% Serbia: 17% Brunei: 6%
Italy: 45.2% India: 39.3% Turkey: 35.8% Swaziland: 31.9% Ecuador: 29.9% Australia: 26.4% Slovakia: 24.6% Botswana: 22% Jordan: 16.9% Macau: 4.6%
Germany: 43.8% Norway: 39.1% Poland: 35.3% Malaysia: 31.8% Aruba: 29.8% United States: 26% Romania: 24.4% Honduras: 22% Mauritius: 13.6%  
Denmark: 42.3% Brazil: 38.5% Spain: 35.2% Malta: 31.4% Japan: 28.3% Syria: 26% Jersey: 24.3% Isle of Man: 21.7% Venezuela: 13.3%  
Curacao: 42% Austria: 38.4% Mozambique: 35% United Kingdom: 31.4% Uruguay: 28.1% Estonia: 25.8% Thailand: 24.2% Singpore: 21.6% Hong Kong: 12.8%  
France: 42% Finland: 38% Uganda: 35% Zimbabwe: 31.1% Sri Lanka: 28.0% Czech Republic: 25.8% Costa Rica: 24.2% Egypt: 20.5% Bulgaria: 12.4%  
Senegal: 42% Bosnia Herzeogvina: 37.5% Israel: 34.5% Philippines: 30.8% Jamaica: 28% Fiji: 25.5% Lithuania: 24% Angola: 20% Lebanon: 12.2%  
Sint Maarten: 40.5% Sweden: 36.3% Sierra Leone: 33.5% Canada: 30.5% Mexico: 27.8% Armenia: 25.2% Colombia: 23.7% Yemen: 19.7% Belarus: 12.2%  

If you want the snow plowed and the pacemaker installed, Canadian, you have to pay for it. If you're dissatisfied with what you're paying, you might consider renouncing your citizenship (after you've found refuge in a more amenable financial climate, of course). Dual citizenship can bring double the income tax liability (especially if you're a dual citizen of Canada and the US).

 

3. Politics

Do you truly hate the tar sands or the Harper government? There's no better way to demonstrate your disgust with your home country than to abandon it, and there's no step more final and dramatic than renouncing your citizenship. Generally, Canada has been a haven for those fleeing political oppression elsewhere (including the Vietnam war draft in the US in the '60s and '70s, immortalized in the Flying Burrito Brothers draft-dodger anthem "My Uncle":

But, if you're just fully fed up with the direction the country's taking and you want to find more liberal or more conservative climes, renounce away.

 

But not so fast: 

Like all Canadian bureaucratic operations, renouncing your citizenship requires an application, a fee - $100 - and a four month (or longer) waiting period to encourage sober reflection on your decision to depart. So long, former Canadian. We'll save a toque for you.

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