September 26, 2014—EDMONTON, AB— Over the past two weeks, Edmonton welcomed approximately 750 new Canadian citizens from more than 90 countries at six ceremonies at the Stanley A. Milner Library.
Ceremonies like these demonstrate how the government is working to make the citizenship program more efficient and helping more people realize their dream of becoming Canadian sooner. Recent changes to the Citizenship Act, which received Royal Assent on June 19, 2014, will allow for further improvements to the efficiency of the citizenship program. The new streamlined decision-making process and other changes to the Citizenship Act are expected to bring the processing time for citizenship applications down to under one year and reduce the citizenship application backlog by more than 80 percent by 2015-2016.
- Since 2006, Canada has enjoyed the highest sustained levels of immigration in Canadian history–an average of one quarter million newcomers each year. Accordingly, the demand for citizenship has increased by 30 percent.
- For a new Canadian, the citizenship ceremony marks their formal entry into Canadian society. A citizenship ceremony is a unique part of Canadian civic life. It is one of the few occasions where we formally reflect on the rights, responsibilities, privileges and benefits of being a Canadian citizen.
- More than 150,000 new Canadians have been welcomed across Canada so far in 2014–more than double the number of new citizens compared to the same time period in 2013.
- On June 19, 2014, Bill C-24, the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, became law. The new provisions strengthen the integrity of the citizenship system and reduce processing times for citizenship applications.
“Our government is proud to welcome these new citizens as Canadians. The impressive number of individuals participating in these ceremonies, and embracing the rights, responsibilities and privileges that come with Canadian citizenship, demonstrates that our Government’s changes to the citizenship program are working.” Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister
“I would like to express my sincere congratulations to each and every new Canadian who recently took the Oath of Citizenship here in Edmonton. I commend you for reaffirming your commitment to Canadian values and traditions. Our Government is so proud to welcome new Canadians who will contribute to the vibrancy of our communities in and around Edmonton, and we will continue to improve the citizenship process so that new citizens are welcomed to the Canada more quickly.” Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, Regional Minister for Northern Alberta and Member of Parliament for Edmonton-Spruce Grove