Canada welcomed more than 1,000 people from 93 countries as new citizens at one of six citizenship ceremonies held in Montreal.
The government is confident that such ceremonies demonstrate that the long backlog of citizenship applications is finally decreasing, helping more people realise sooner their dream of becoming ‘Canadian’.
“A Canadian citizenship ceremony is a moving and emotional celebration that reaffirms one’s commitment to Canadian values and traditions,” explained Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister. “Our government wants to build on our successes in reforming the immigration system and, with the launch of the Blueprint for Citizenship Improvements, we will improve the citizenship process so newcomers become Canadian citizens more quickly.”
Indeed, it is hoped that 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 per cent by 2015-2016.
Since 2006, Canada has enjoyed the highest sustained levels of immigration in the country’s history – an average of 257,000 newcomers each year. Accordingly, the demand for citizenship has increased by 30 per cent in this time.
In 2013, 128,936 people were granted citizenship at ceremonies across Canada—an average of 10,745 each month.
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