More than 700 new citizens from over 45 countries were welcomed to Canada at nine ceremonies held in Ottawa this week.
The increasing number of citizenship ceremonies demonstrates how the government is working to make the citizenship program more efficient, helping more people realize their dream sooner of becoming Canadian. The government’s proposed changes in Bill C-24, the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, will further reduce wait times by streamlining the decision-making process for citizenship. It is expected that these changes will bring the average processing time for citizenship applications down to under one year and that the current backlog will be reduced by more than 80 percent by 2015-2016.
- Since 2006, Canada has enjoyed the highest sustained levels of immigration in Canadian history–an average of a quarter million newcomers each year. Accordingly, the demand for citizenship has increased by 30 percent.
- For a new Canadian, the citizenship ceremony marks their formal entry into the Canadian family. A citizenship ceremony is a unique part of Canadian civic life. It is one of the few occasions where we formally reflect on the rights, responsibilities, privileges and benefits of being a Canadian citizen.
- Over 3,500 new citizens have been welcomed in Ottawa so far in 2014–more than three times the number of newly naturalized Canadians over the same period in 2013.
“As Canadians we can be proud of the high number of new citizens who are embracing Canadian values and traditions. The increasing number of new citizens also demonstrates that our government’s efforts to improve the citizenship program and decrease wait times are working. Our government congratulates these new citizens and welcomes them to the Canadian family.”
Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister