This year during Citizenship Week, 6442 people became new Canadians at 72 special citizenship ceremonies across Canada. Citizenship Week (October 8-14) also marked the 1‑year anniversary of Bill C‑6, which brought in important changes to the Citizenship Act, helping qualified applicants get citizenship faster.
For this year’s Citizenship Week celebrations, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) took some of our newest Canadians to literal great heights. Citizenship Week celebrations opened with a special outdoor citizenship ceremony at the top of the CN Tower, with 6 of our newest Canadians taking the oath of citizenship while harnessed on the EdgeWalk, accompanied by Minister Ahmed Hussen. This ceremony was followed by other elevated ceremonies at the top of the Vancouver Lookout, on October 11, and at the Olympic Stadium in Montréal, on October 12.
As Citizenship Week fell during Women’s History Month, citizenship ceremonies across Canada also celebrated 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 were guest speakers at several of our special citizenship ceremonies across Canada.
The changes from Bill C‑6 came into effect on October 11, 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 4 out of 6 years to 3 out of 5 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%, 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 9‑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.
“This Citizenship Week was a time to celebrate being Canadian and the strength and freedom of our country and its people. It was also a special time to welcome our newest members into the Canadian family. Achieving Canadian citizenship is not only deeply personal, it’s also an important step that allows immigrants to gain a deeper sense of belonging to our country, and to become more active members of our society.
This year we also celebrated the positive changes to the Citizenship Act, under Bill C-6, to provide those wanting to become Canadian citizens with greater flexibility to meet the requirements. One year later, we can see the difference these changes are making.”
– The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
- Immigration is critical to Canada’s economic growth. With an aging population and lower childbirth rate, Canada is relying more and more on immigrants to help fill labour and talent shortages in communities across the country.
- Studies from Canada and around the world have found that immigration in Canada is positive for our country, both socially and economically.
- Several national landmarks across Canada, from the Confederation Building, in St. John’s, Newfoundland, to the S.S. Klondike, in Whitehorse, Yukon, were lit up red and white for part or all of last week to mark Citizenship Week.
- Changes to the Citizenship Act also included reducing the age range for applicants who must meet the language and knowledge requirements and counting the days that temporary residents and protected persons spend in Canada as half days (up to 365 days) toward their physical presence requirements.
- In a first for IRCC, a citizenship ceremony was livestreamed on the Department’s Facebook site. The ceremony at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland, on October 12, was viewed more than 20,000 times.