Citizenship week in Canada marked more flexibility for foreign applicants

by Ray Clancy on October 16, 2017

The annual citizenship week in Canada this year celebrated recent changes to the nation’s Citizenship Act which has made the process more accessible and flexible and also the 150th anniversary of the creation of the nation.

It was even more poignant this year as it is the 150th anniversary of the confederation of Canada and all those becoming citizens and who have already taken citizenship were asked to reflect on what it means to be Canadian.


Citizenship Canada asked people to share their stories and attend ceremonies to reaffirm what citizenship means to them. Those doing so included well known Canadians.

‘Citizenship Week was a chance for everyone to engage and inspire each other and celebrate our shared values, our achievements and our pride as Canadians. This is a great time to reflect on what it means to be a Canadian and to be part of the Canadian family,’ said Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

This year it is also the 70th anniversary of Canadian citizenship which has been evolving ever since it was first introduced in 1947. Just a few days ago the changes from the new Citizenship Act came into force.

The changes included reducing the time permanent residents must be physically present in Canada before applying, amending the age range for applicants who must meet the language and knowledge requirements and counting the days applicants spend in Canada as temporary residents or protected persons as half days toward their physical presence requirements, up to 365 days.

Official figures show that in the last decade 1.75 million people from other nations have become Canadian citizens. So far in 2017 some 70,000 people have become Canadian citizens and during Citizenship Week, more than 4,000 people took the pledge at 49 ceremonies across the nation.

The Dominion of Canada was created on 01 July 1867 under the British North America Act that united the provinces of Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia but the nation maintained a strong connection to Britain.

Canada acquired increasing independence from Britain gradually and after World War I, on 10 January 1920, Canada joined the League of Nations as an independent nation. But full Governmental independence did not take place until 1982 when the British Parliament transferred power to change the constitution via the Canada Act. But even today the UK’s Queen Elizabeth II is still Queen of Canada.

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