Going to great heights with Canada’s newest citizens
This year during Citizenship Week, 6442 people became new Canadians at 72 special citizenship ceremonies across Canada. Citizenship Week (October 8-14) also marked the 1‑year anniversary of Bill C‑6, which brought in important changes to the Citizenship Act, helping qualified applicants get citizenship faster.
For this year’s Citizenship Week celebrations, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) took some of our newest Canadians to literal great heights. Citizenship Week celebrations opened 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, accompanied by Minister Ahmed Hussen. This ceremony was 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.
As Citizenship Week fell during Women’s History Month, citizenship ceremonies across Canada also celebrated 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 were guest speakers at several of our special citizenship ceremonies across Canada.
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.