TORONTO, Oct. 17, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - At a ceremony at the Air Canada Centre hosted by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Canada's Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander welcomed 35 new citizens to the Canadian family. Alexander highlighted the government's changes to the Citizenship Act, which encourage new citizens to form a strong attachment to Canadian values and traditions.
As Citizenship Week comes to a close, three special citizenship ceremonies are being held in conjunction with NHL games across Canada today and tomorrow. Today's newest citizens will join in the singing of the national anthem tonight prior to the start of the game.
For new Canadians, the citizenship ceremony marks their formal entry into the Canadian family and is a unique part of Canadian civic life. It is one of the few occasions where we formally reflect on the rights, responsibilities, privileges and benefits of being Canadian. At the ceremony today, Minister Alexander spoke to the new citizens about the importance of developing a strong attachment to Canada as key to their achieving success in their adopted country.
- Since 2006, Canada has enjoyed the highest sustained levels of immigration in Canadian history-an average of one quarter million newcomers each year.
- The government's recent changes to the Citizenship Act will help prepare future new citizens for success in Canadian society. The new law clearly states that the "residence" period to qualify for citizenship in fact requires a physical presence in Canada. More applicants are now required to meet language requirements and pass a knowledge test.
- Citizenship Week is taking place from October 13-19, 2014.
- New citizens are being welcomed at the following hockey games: Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Detroit Red Wings (October 17), the Edmonton Oilers vs. Vancouver Canucks (October 17) and the Vancouver Canucks vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (October 18).
- In celebration of Citizenship Week, the CN Tower will be lit up in red and white tonight.
"As Citizenship Week draws to a close, this is an ideal time for all of us, new and established citizens, to reflect on the value of our citizenship and the importance of embracing Canada's values and traditions. Welcoming new Canadians by involving them in Canada's favourite sport is just one way our government is helping new citizens form a strong attachment to our great country."
Chris Alexander, Canada's Citizenship and Immigration Minister
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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: Kevin Menard, Minister's Office, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 613-954-1064; Media Relations: Communications Branch, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 613-952-1650CIC-Media-Relations@cic.gc.ca