One year on from the citizenship process being made faster, officials in Canada want this year’s citizenship week to encourage others who move to the country to make it permanent.

Since October last year people wanting to become Canadian citizens have seen greater flexibility in terms of meeting the necessary requirements. In particular, the changes reduced the time permanent residents must be physically present in Canada before applying for citizenship from four out of six years to three out of five years.

Canada Immigrants

By the end of October 2018, an estimated 152,000 people will have obtained Canadian citizenship since the changes came into effect, an increase of 40%, compared to the 108,000 people who obtained citizenship in the same period the year before.

The Bill C 6 has allowed more permanent residents to apply for citizenship. In the nine-month period from October 2017 to June 2018, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) received 242,680 applications, more than double the 102,261 applications that were received in the same period the year before.

Despite the increase in applications, processing times for routine citizenship applications remain under 12 months and this week there will be 72 special citizenship ceremonies across the nation, including to the top of the CN Tower and the Olympic stadium in Montreal.

As Citizenship Week falls during Women’s History Month, citizenship ceremonies across Canada will also celebrate the outstanding achievements of women who have shaped Canada, as indigenous peoples, settlers, innovators and activists.

Prominent women in civics, business, science and other areas will speak as guests at several of our special citizenship ceremonies across Canada.

‘The Government made important changes to the Citizenship Act, under Bill C 6, to provide those wanting to become Canadian citizens with greater flexibility to meet the requirements. One year later, we can see the difference these changes are making,’ said Immigration and Citizenship Minister Ahmed Hussen.

‘During Citizenship Week, I encourage everyone to celebrate their citizenship and to reflect on what being Canadian means to you. To me, being Canadian means being part of the greatest country in the world,’ he explained.

‘October is also Women’s History Month, making this a perfect time to give thanks and show appreciation for the many women who helped build and shape Canada throughout our history. Canada has come a long way because of women,’ he added.

Changes to the Citizenship Act also included reducing the age range for applicants who must meet the language and knowledge requirements and counting the days that temporary residents and protected persons spend in Canada as half days, up to 365 days, toward their physical presence requirements.

Hussen also pointed out that immigration is ‘critical’ to Canada’s economic growth. ‘With an aging population and lower childbirth rate, Canada is relying more and more on immigrants to help fill labour and talent shortages in communities across the country. Studies from Canada and around the world have found that immigration in Canada is positive for our country, both socially and economically,’ he concluded.