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Canada Introduces Measures to Speed Up Citizenship Process

September 2013, 23
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The Canadian government has announced it will be introducing a raft of new measures in a bid to speed up the lingering citizenship process.
The Department for Citizenship and Immigration has said the system is currently bogged down by red tape and isn't helped by individuals who don't take the process seriously. 

Re-prioritising applications

Canada is a country renowned for being multi-cultural; several locations around the country are officially bi-lingual and there are a number of different ethnic communities. 

However, the Department for Citizenship and Immigration has warned that individuals who don't take the process seriously will now risk having their application simply terminated and those behind them in the queue reclassified as a greater priority. 
The Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander confirmed that the department will be introducing formal changes which will allow them to take tough action against applicants who fail to either turn up for their interview or don't take their citizenship as scheduled.
New citizens celebrating becoming Canadians!

List of acceptable reasons

Issuing a formal ministerial statement, Alexander confirmed that, 'The application process has, for too long, been bogged down by persons who unnecessarily delay the process for everyone else by not taking the process seriously'. He went on to explain that the Department would not simply strike out a name upon non-attendance but would write to the individual requesting an explanation. 
If the applicant is able to provide an acceptable reason for their non-attendance and lack of communication, the appointment will be rescheduled. If no response is received a second letter will be sent. If they fail to reply within a three month period or their reason is not deemed satisfactory, their application will be terminated without further notice. 
An all-inclusive list of what reasons will be considered as acceptable for failing to keep an appointment for a citizenship application but the Immigration Department for Canada has compiled some of the circumstances which it believes would qualify. Examples include:
  • Being away from home whilst caring for a dying parent
  • Personal ill health or accident
  • Non-arrival of third party documentation which is key to the application 
Experts have warned that applicants hoping to rely on one of the above reasons may be asked to provide documentary proof, although this has not been announced by immigration officials. 
If an application is closed by the Immigration Department, an individual will not be allowed to simply re-open it at a later stage although they can begin a whole new citizenship application from scratch, should they wish to do so.
Becoming a Canadian citizen could be more difficult in future

Citizens must swear allegiance to the Queen

Any individuals wishing to become Canadian citizens must complete the oath of allegiance which means swearing to pledge their loyalty to not only Canada but also to Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada. 
Three Canadian residents have just lost a court battle in a bid to overturn the requirement to swear that they will be 'faithful and bear true allegiance to Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, her heirs and successors'.
All three individuals do not wish to swear allegiance to the Queen, and have claimed that being forced to do so in order to receive citizenship is an infringement of their right to free speech. 
However, Ontario Superior Court Justice Edward Morgan rejected the case and ruled that the oath does not infringe on either the right to free speech nor the individuals' religious or equality rights, contrary to their claims. 
Justice Morgan informed the court that in order to enjoy the 'benefits' of being a Canadian citizen, individuals must not hold 'personal beliefs that run counter to Canada's foundational heritage'. The lawyers representing the individuals are currently consulting with their clients before they decide whether to lodge an appeal.

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