Scarborough (Toronto), ON—More than 4,500 new citizens from over 140 countries were welcomed to Canada at 49 citizenship ceremonies held at Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)’s office in Scarborough over the past two weeks.
This includes five ceremonies taking place at CIC Scarborough today, which will see a total of approximately 500 people from 63 countries granted citizenship.
Ceremonies like these demonstrate how the government is working to make the citizenship program more efficient, helping more people realize sooner their dream of becoming Canadian. The government’s proposed changes in Bill C-24, theStrengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, will also 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 257,000 newcomers each year. Accordingly, the demand for citizenship has increased by 30 percent.
In 2013, 128,936 people were granted citizenship at ceremonies across Canada—an average of 10,745 each month.
More than 19,200 people from 193 countries became Canadian citizens at citizenship ceremonies held across Canada over the month of February 2014, almost 100 percent higher than the same period last year (February 2013).
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 when we formally reflect on the rights, responsibilities, privileges and benefits of being a Canadian citizen.
“Our government is proud to welcome our newest citizens to the Canadian family. A Canadian citizenship ceremony is a moving and emotional celebration that reaffirms one’s commitment to Canadian values and traditions. Our government will continue to make changes to the citizenship process so that newcomers become Canadian citizens more quickly.”
– Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister