Special ceremonies have been held in Canada to mark the 70th anniversary of the country’s citizenship act and events will be held throughout 2017.
Canada was the first Commonwealth country to create its own citizenship separate from Great Britain when the act was introduced on 03 January 1947 and now all residents can apply for the status.
The event resembled the first Canadian citizenship ceremony held 70 years ago when Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King received the first Canadian citizenship certificate, numbered 0001.
In the past decade Canada has welcomed more than 1.5 million new citizens with residents, regardless of where they were born, able to apply for citizenship status.
‘Throughout history, Canada’s identity has been largely shaped by the significant cultural and economic contributions of immigrants,’ said John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.
‘The 70th anniversary of Canadian citizenship is an opportunity to reflect on what it means to be Canadian, the rights we enjoy, the responsibilities we share, and the diversity that makes us strong. During Canada 150 celebrations and beyond, I encourage all Canadians to celebrate their citizenship,’ he added.
Citizenship applicants need to be 18 years old, have a permanent resident card and been physically present in Canada as a permanent resident for at least 1,460 days during the six years immediately before the date of an application.
Applicants must have met their personal income tax filing obligations in four taxation years that are fully or partially within the six years immediately before the date of application.
They must also declare their intent to reside during the citizenship application process but once they become a Canadian citizen they will have the right to enter, remain in, or leave Canada which is regarded as one of the basic rights of citizenship.
There is also a language requirement in either English or French and applicants need to show an understanding of Canadian history, values, institutions, and responsibilities in the form of a citizenship test.