Beginning in as soon as June 2023, new citizens of Canada may be able to take the oath without the necessity for a citizenship judge.
The Canada Gazette published on February 25, 2023 in regards to regulations amending the citizenship regulations (Oath of Citizenship).
This amendment is now open for a 30-day consultation period until March 27, 2023 and can come into force around June 2023 after consultation process is completed.
Critics believe that this will cheapen the processing of citizenship oath as swearing an oath has been a legal condition of becoming a citizen in this country since 1947.
In this oath, citizenship candidates make a solemn promise to uphold Canadian laws and fulfil their responsibilities as citizens.
As reported by Toronto Star, Daniel Bernhard (CEO of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship) criticizes this move.
He says it will be as easy as to just read and click the terms and conditions to take oath of citizenship, as it has been to create any social media accounts such as Facebook or TikTok.
Latest statement by the immigration department says that new citizens would now be able to complete the requirements of citizenship by signing a written attestation online without a witness.
However, applicants would still have the choice to do so in front of a citizenship judge.
What Are The Exact Proposed Amendments?
Below are simplified version of official amendments to citizenship regulations.
- Any person (at least 14 years old) on the day they are given citizenship must, at the Minister’s invitation, take the oath of citizenship, whether in or outside of Canada,
- through the means that the Minister makes accessible or specifies for that purpose; or
- before the Minister, a person authorized in writing by the Minister to act on the Minister’s behalf, or a citizenship judge.
- An individual shall be delivered the citizenship certificate after they have taken the oath of citizenship.
- While taking the oath of citizenship as per the above listed regulation, the individual must sign the document provided by the Minister, verifying that they have taken the oath.
- Any person who has been granted citizenship may take the oath of citizenship in front of
- the Minister,
- a person the Minister has authorized in writing to act on their behalf,
- as well as a citizenship judge
February 14, 2023 Citizenship Oath Ceremony
Why new changes?
New statistics shows a 20-year decline in citizenship uptake, which could be the biggest reason for the proposed adjustment.
Lesser permanent residents are now converting to Canadian citizens.
Just 45.7% of permanent residents became citizens as per 2021 census, down from 60% in 2016 and 75.1% in 2001.
Although, the number of citizenship applications granted yearly having increased dramatically over the previous 5 years from 113,000 to 243,000.
But, the processing time for citizenship has doubled during the pandemic compared to the previous 12-month service standard.
As per IRCC data dated January 31, 2023 – there were total of 303,000 citizenship applications under processing.
Out of these, 83,000 applications were still being processed after exceeding the normal service standard. While 220,000 are still being processed under normal service standards.
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