Welcoming more new Canadians - New Canadian citizens in February 2014 almost double compared to one year ago

OTTAWA, Feb. 28, 2014 /CNW/ - More than 19,200 people from 193 countries have become Canadian citizens at citizenship ceremonies held across Canada over the month of February. This is almost 100 percent higher compared to the same period last year (February 2013) when approximately 9,980 people were granted citizenship across Canada.

At 220 citizenship ceremonies held across the country this past month, from school gymnasiums, to Citizenship and Immigration offices, to city halls and hotel conference rooms, Canada has welcomed our newest citizens.

These high numbers demonstrate that the system is becoming more efficient and the backlog of citizenship applications is decreasing, helping more people realize their dream of becoming Canadian sooner. The government's proposed changes in Bill C-24, the Strengthening 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.

Quick facts

  • In 2013, 128,936 people were granted citizenship - an average of 10,745 each month.

  • So far in 2014, Canada has welcomed more than 41,000 new citizens at 462 ceremonies across Canada.

  • 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.

  • Canada has the highest rate of naturalization in the world - 85 percent of eligible permanent residents become citizens. Citizenship and Immigration Canada received 333,860 citizenship applications in 2013, the highest volume ever.

  • For a new Canadian, the citizenship ceremony marks their formal entry into the Canadian family. It is one of the few occasions when we formally reflect on the rights, responsibilities, privileges and benefits of being a Canadian citizen.

Quote

"Canadian citizenship comes with rights, responsibilities and a commitment to Canadian values and traditions. To the number of new Canadians who have taken the Oath of Citizenship this month, I welcome you to the Canadian family. Our government will continue to take action to improve the citizenship process for future new Canadians. We will 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."

Chris Alexander, Canada's Citizenship and Immigration Minister

Related products
The Oath of Citizenship
Find a citizenship ceremony
Citizenship legislation reform—Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act

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Photos of Minister Alexander available at: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/photos/index.asp

Building a stronger Canada: Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) strengthens Canada's economic, social and cultural prosperity, helping ensure Canadian safety and security while managing one of the largest and most generous immigration programs in the world.

SOURCE Citizenship and Immigration Canada

For further information:

Alexis Pavlich
Minister's Office
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
613-954-1064

Media Relations
Communications Branch
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
613-952-1650
CIC-Media-Relations@cic.gc.ca