One year later, Citizenship Act improvements lead to more new citizens
October 5, 2018 – Ottawa, ON – This year, Citizenship Week (October 8 to 14, 2018) will be celebrated with 72 special citizenship ceremonies across the country. Citizenship Week also marks the 1 year anniversary of Bill C 6, which brought in important changes to the Citizenship Act, helping qualified applicants get citizenship faster.
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.
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 6 of our 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 October 11, and at the Olympic Stadium in Montréal, on October 12.
You are invited to attend one of the many citizenship ceremonies to support new Canadians and reaffirm your own citizenship, in celebration of Citizenship Week. You can find details of ceremonies in your area at Canada.ca/celebrate-citizenship.
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.
We’ll also be celebrating taking Canadian citizenship to new heights all week on social media. Join in the celebration on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by using the hashtag #CitizenshipWeek to share your photos, videos and stories. Tell us what being Canadian means to you, share a photo from your citizenship ceremony and show us your favourite Canadian place. You can also share your own stories about Canadian women in history who have made an impact and deserve recognition by using the hashtag #MakeAnImpact.
“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. One year later, we can see the difference these changes are making.
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. October is also Women’s History Month, making this a perfect time to give thanks and show appreciation for the many women who helped build and shape Canada throughout our history. Canada has come a long way because of women.”
– The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
- Several national landmarks across Canada, from the Confederation Building, in St. John’s, Newfoundland, to the S.S. Klondike, in Whitehorse, Yukon, will be lit up red and white for part or all of next 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.
- 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.