New bill to reduce Canadian citizenship backlogs and processing times

by Ray Clancy on February 7, 2014

The Canadian government has reaffirmed its pledge to reduce backlogs and processing times for citizenship applications.

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander launched the Blueprint for Citizenship Improvements as a part of the government’s introduction of Bill C-24, the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act.

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Canada welcomed more than 16,000 new citizens in January 2014, more than doubling the number of citizenship grants given in January 2013

Bill C-24 reinforces the government’s commitment to reduce backlogs and improve processing times while strengthening the integrity of Canadian citizenship and explained that the Blueprint for Citizenship Improvements was launched to highlight specific action the government will take to reform the citizenship application process, according to Alexander.

The government’s Blueprint for Citizenship Improvements aims to improve and streamline Canada’s citizenship programme by reducing the decision making process from three steps to one.

It is expected that by 2015 to 2016 this change will bring the average processing time for citizenship applications down to under a year. It is also projected that by 2015 to 2016, the current backlog will be reduced by more than 80%.

Also, citizenship application fees will be better aligned with the actual cost of processing, relieving the burden on Canadian taxpayers who currently subsidize 80% of the cost.

Alexander explained that with less time spent processing incomplete citizenship applications officials will be able to focus on reducing backlogs in the current system.

‘The Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, along with the launch of the Blueprint for Citizenship Improvements, helps improve the citizenship process by reducing backlogs and wait times,’ said Alexander.

The Bill is to support newcomer’s integration to the Canadian economy and communities and ensure new citizens have a stronger attachment to Canada as well as protecting the value of Canadian citizenship, preventing fraud and cutting red tape.

These legislative reforms under the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act are the first comprehensive reforms to the Citizenship Act since 1977 and they come at a time when demand for citizenship is rising.

Canada welcomed more than 16,000 new citizens in January 2014, more than doubling the number of citizenship grants given in January 2013 and more than 85% of eligible permanent residents become Canadian citizens.

‘Our government is proud to table improvements to the Citizenship Act that reinforce the value of citizenship and make the process quicker and easier for new Canadians who play by the rules,’ Alexander concluded.

 

 

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