OTTAWA, Dec. 12, 2014 /CNW/ - More than 1,100 individuals from 122 countries became Canadian citizens at 15 citizenship ceremonies in Ottawa this week, announced Canada's Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander today.
Alexander welcomed and congratulated Canada's newest citizens at a special citizenship ceremony at Rideau Hall on Tuesday. The ceremony, which saw 50 new Canadians take the Oath of Citizenship, was hosted by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship and presided over by Governor General David Johnson.
Ceremonies like these demonstrate how the government is working to make the citizenship program more efficient and helping more people realize their dream of becoming Canadian sooner. Recent changes to the Citizenship Act, which received Royal Assent on June 19, 2014, are already improving the efficiency of the citizenship program. With the new streamlined decision-making process and other changes to the Citizenship Act, the government is on track to bring the processing time for citizenship applications down to under one year and reduce the citizenship application backlog by more than 80 percent by 2015-2016.
For a new Canadian, the citizenship ceremony marks their formal entry into Canadian society. A citizenship ceremony 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 a Canadian citizen.
- Since 2006, Canada has enjoyed the highest sustained levels of immigration in Canadian history¾an average of one quarter million newcomers each year. Accordingly, the demand for citizenship has increased by 30 percent.
- On June 19, 2014, Bill C-24, the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, became law. The new provisions strengthen the integrity of the citizenship system and reduce processing times for citizenship applications.
- More than 200,000 new Canadians have been welcomed across Canada so far in 2014-more than double the number of new citizens compared to the same time period in 2013.
"On behalf of the Government of Canada, I'd like to extend a warm welcome and congratulations to all of our country's newest citizens who have chosen to embrace Canada's traditions and values. Our government is proud of our recent changes to the Citizenship Act that will improve processing times and reduce backlogs. Thanks to these changes, new citizens like the ones who joined the Canadian family this week in Ottawa can realize their dream of becoming Canadian much sooner."
Chris Alexander, Canada's Citizenship and Immigration Minister
News Release - Improving processing times, welcoming more new citizens
News Release - Government welcomes Royal Assent of Bill C-24
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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, 613-952-1650, CIC-Media-Relations@cic.gc.ca