Strengthening Canadian Citizenship, Speeding Up Processing

Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act continues to protect the integrity of Canada’s immigration system

August 1, 2014 — Ottawa — Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander today announced that recent changes to the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act are already paying big dividends: citizenship backlogs are at their lowest level in more than two years, and applications are now being processed more efficiently than ever.

The government’s overhaul of the Citizenship Act saw the citizenship decision-making process move from three steps to one. This change and others in the Actare designed to improve program integrity and safeguard the value of Canadian citizenship.

The number of decision makers has also increased which will ensure that citizenship applications are processed more quickly and backlogs are reduced.

It is expected that in 2015/16 the processing time for citizenship applications will be less than a year. It is also projected that the current backlog of applications will be reduced by more than 80 percent.

Changes to Citizenship Act now in effect:

In addition to the new streamlined decision making model, the government has today implemented a range of legislative amendments to further strengthen Canada’s citizenship program. These amendments relate to authorities to refuse incomplete applications and a uniform system for judicial review of citizenship decisions are also now in effect.

These changes were part of Bill C-24, the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, which received Royal Assent on June 19, 2014. These improvements are in addition to funding in Economic Action Plan 2013 of an additional $44 million over two years to the citizenship program to ensure the timely processing of applications.

Quick facts

  • Canada has the highest rate of naturalization in the world—85 per cent of eligible permanent residents become citizens.
  • Since 2006, Canada has welcomed over 1,300,000 proud new Canadians.
  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada received 333,860 citizenship applications in 2013, the highest volume ever and a strong reminder of the value of being a Canadian citizen.

“Canadian citizenship is highly valued around the world and our government is committed to ensuring that deserving applicants can be welcomed into the Canadian family more quickly. This is good for Canada’s economy, and good for Canadian society.”

Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister

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