Canada proposes change to Oath of Citizenship

The Canadian Government has proposed making a change to the country’s Oath of Citizenship which would include clear reference to the rights of Indigenous peoples.

Taking the Oath of Citizenship is the last step a permanent resident takes before receiving Canadian citizenship. The Oath of Citizenship is a solemn promise to follow the laws of Canada and to perform the new citizen’s duties as a Canadian citizen. It is a public declaration that the new citizen is joining the Canadian family and that the new citizen is committed to Canadian values and traditions.

The proposed new wording would add references to Canada’s Constitution and the Aboriginal and treaty rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. It would therefore read as such:

“I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada, including the Constitution, which recognizes and affirms the Aboriginal and treaty rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen”.

“The change to the Oath is an important step on our path to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in Canada,” said Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s Immigration Minister. “It will encourage new Canadians to learn about Indigenous peoples and their history, which will help them to fully appreciate and respect the significant role of Indigenous peoples in forming Canada’s fabric and identity.”

Today, more than 1.6 million people, or nearly 5 per cent of Canada’s population, are Indigenous.

The proposed amendment to the Oath reflects the Government of Canada’s commitment to reconciliation, and a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples based on recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership.

“Reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit and Métis is not only an Indigenous issue; it’s a Canadian issue,” said Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Indigenous Services. “It will take partners at all levels to move reconciliation forward. Today, we are advancing that partnership by proposing that all Canadians make a solemn promise to respect Indigenous rights when they recite the Oath of Citizenship.”

Article published 29th May 2019