HALIFAX, NS, Oct. 14, 2014 /CNW/ - Thanks to the government's recent changes to the Citizenship Act, Canada has now welcomed two new citizens under the recently-launched fast-track provision for members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), announced Canada's Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander today.
As part of Citizenship Week, Minister Alexander attended a citizenship ceremony today to welcome 50 new citizens and recognized the contributions of Lieutenant Commander Michael Cornish, who received fast-tracked citizenship in Halifax on October 2, 2014. At a separate event in Kelowna, British Columbia, Lieutenant Colonel Michael McGinty, who received his citizenship on September 12, 2014, was officially welcomed to the Canadian family by MP Ron Cannan.
The new fast-tracked provision was part of the government's reforms to the Citizenship Act which became law on June 19, 2014. The new changes accelerate citizenship for permanent residents serving in the CF as well as foreign nationals on exchange with the CF. This measure honours the important contributions of those who serve our country, and demonstrates how the government's recent changes to the Citizenship Act are allowing qualified applicants to become citizens more quickly.
- Since 2006, Canada has enjoyed the highest sustained levels of immigration in Canadian history-an average of a quarter million newcomers each year. Accordingly, the demand for citizenship has increased by 30 percent.
- For a new Canadian, the citizenship ceremony marks their formal entry into the Canadian family where we formally reflect on the rights, responsibilities, privileges and benefits of being a Canadian citizen.
- Citizenship Week is taking place this year from October 13-19, 2014.
- The provision to fast-track citizenship to permanent residents and foreign nationals serving with the CF came into force on June 19, 2014.
- In August, Canada welcomed its 150,000th new citizen.
"As Canadians, we recognize the important contributions of our Canadian Armed Forces members who risk their lives to defend Canadian values and protect our country. Through our recent changes to the Citizenship Act, our government is working to ensure that deserving applicants, like those serving our country, can realize their dream of becoming Canadian sooner. As we celebrate Citizenship Week, our government is proud to welcome Lieutenant Commander Michael Cornish and Lieutenant Colonel Michael McGinty to the Canadian family."
Chris Alexander, Canada's Citizenship and Immigration Minister
"Our government's changes to the Citizenship Act ensure that we recognize the important contributions of those who serve our country. During Citizenship Week, we are proud to welcome the two first Canadian Armed Forces members who received their citizenship under our fast-track provisions under the Citizenship Act. This week, let's reflect on what it means to be Canadian and show our gratitude to our men and women in uniform."
Ron Cannan, Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country
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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: Contacts: Kevin Menard, Minister's Office, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 613-954-1064; Media Relations: Communications Branch, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 613-952-1650, [email protected]