Today marks the start of Citizenship Week in Canada, during which no fewer than 72 special citizenship ceremonies will be held across the country.
Citizenship Week also marks the one-year anniversary of Bill C 6, which brought in important changes to the Citizenship Act by helping qualified applicants get citizenship faster.
“The Government made important changes to the Citizenship Act, under Bill C‑6, to provide those wanting to become Canadian citizens with greater flexibility to meet the requirements,” said Canada’s Minister of Immigration and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen. “One year later, we can see the difference these changes are making.”
The changes from Bill C 6 came into effect on 11th October 2017, and provided those wanting to become Canadian citizens with greater flexibility to meet the requirements. In particular, the changes reduced the time permanent residents must be physically present in Canada before applying for citizenship from four out of six years to three out of five years.
By the end of October 2018, an estimated 152,000 people will have obtained Canadian citizenship since the changes came into effect, an increase of 40 per cent compared to the 108,000 people who obtained citizenship in the same period the year before.
Bill C 6 has allowed more permanent residents to apply for citizenship. In the nine-month period from October 2017 to June 2018, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) received 242,680 applications, more than double the 102,261 applications that were received in the same period the year before. Despite the increase in applications, processing times for routine citizenship applications remain under 12 months.
For this year’s Citizenship Week celebrations, IRCC will be taking some of our newest Canadians to literal great heights. Citizenship Week celebrations will open with a special outdoor citizenship ceremony at the top of the CN Tower, with six of the country’s newest Canadians taking the oath of citizenship while harnessed on the EdgeWalk.
This ceremony will be followed by other elevated ceremonies, at the top of the Vancouver Lookout, on 11th October 11, and at the Olympic Stadium in Montréal, on 12th October.
“During Citizenship Week, I encourage everyone to celebrate their citizenship and to reflect on what being Canadian means to you. To me, being Canadian means being part of the greatest country in the world,” said Hussen.
As Citizenship Week falls during Women’s History Month, citizenship ceremonies across Canada will also celebrate the outstanding achievements of women who have shaped Canada, as Indigenous peoples, settlers, innovators and activists. Prominent women in civics, business, science and other areas will speak as guests at several of our special citizenship ceremonies across Canada.
Article published 8th October 2018