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Over 260,000 newcomers became Canadian citizens in 2014

Canada welcomed more than 260,000 new citizens in 2014, resulting from improvements to the citizenship program as well as recent reforms to the Citizenship Act.

Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said this was more new Canadians than in any year in Canada’s history and more than double the number from the previous year.

Alexander made the announcement at a citizenship ceremony in Scarborough, Ontario.

Through recent changes to the Citizenship Act, the government has made strides over the past year to improve the citizenship application process, and applicants are already seeing results.

• A new citizenship decision-making process, which came into force in August last year, has streamlined the process from three steps to one.

• Since implementing the new process, more than 115,000 people have become Canadian citizens – a 90 per cent increase from the same time period last year.

• Canada’s citizenship application backlog has been reduced by 17 per cent since June 2014, and is at its lowest level in almost three years.

• Canada is on track to eliminate the citizenship application backlog and reduce processing times to less than one year sometime in the next fiscal year.

To have applicant fees more closely reflect the costs associated with processing citizenship applications, citizenship processing fees will increase from $300 to $530 for applicants whose complete applications were received after Jan. 1, 2015. These applicants will benefit from the processing improvements, and this is in keeping with user-pay principles and a move toward full cost recovery in the citizenship program.

Applications for a grant and resumptions of citizenship to a minor are exempt from this change. The $100 Right of Citizenship fee for successful applicants remains the same.

Other fees for services, such as for citizenship proofs, are not changing.

A few quick facts:

• Since 2006, Canada has enjoyed the highest sustained levels of immigration in its history – an average of one quarter-million newcomers each year.

• Canada has welcomed more than 1,550,000 proud new Canadians since 2006.

• Changes to the Citizenship Act are helping to improve efficiency while also strengthening integrity of the citizenship program.

• Even with this change, Canada’s fee is still lower than partner countries’ including the United States and United Kingdom. This change allows the government to continue to reduce backlogs, improve processing times and reduce the burden on Canadian taxpayers.

“With a record number of new Canadians this year, it is clear that our government’s changes to the Citizenship Act are having a real impact on the number of new citizens welcomed to the Canadian family,” said Alexander. “With more than 260,000 new citizens embracing Canadian values and traditions in 2014, we are fulfilling our commitment to reducing backlogs and, improving processing times.”

Posted: Mar 2, 2015

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