John McCallum, minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, welcomed new citizens at a special citizenship ceremony in conjunction with York Regional Police in Aurora. It was his first citizenship ceremony as minister last year.
In the past 10 years, Canada has welcomed over 1,500,000 proud new Canadians. While citizenship ceremonies are held year-round all across the country, each year, in October, Canadians take a week to reflect on and celebrate the rights and responsibilities all Canadian citizens share.
Citizenship Week is also a great opportunity to welcome new Canadians and many people attend a citizenship ceremony or organize a reaffirmation ceremony in their communities, place of work or school. A reaffirmation ceremony is a formal event where Canadian citizens repeat the oath of citizenship to express their commitment to Canada. Organizers choose a master of ceremonies who can act as the presiding official, a guest speaker and a person to lead the group in the oath of citizenship, and in the singing of the national anthem, O Canada. Guest speakers often speak from the heart about citizenship and its rights, and responsibilities. This could be a school principal, a group leader, or someone from the community who has recently become a Canadian citizen and recipients of the Order of Canada, Order of Military Merit, or a citizenship judge in the community may be invited to lead the oath of citizenship.
John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, issued the following statement on Citizenship Week, which took place between October 10 to 16 this year. “Every year, Citizenship Week gives Canadians the opportunity to reflect on what it means to be Canadian: the rights we enjoy, the responsibilities we share, and the diversity that makes us strong.
“Canada is respected around the world for our success at reaching out to newcomers and embracing them into our great nation. This makes our citizenship both valued and sought-after. And one of the strongest pillars of success and integration is the act of becoming a citizen, which is why we encourage newcomers to take the path to citizenship.
“I am proud to say that the citizenship processing backlog has been reduced by more than 80 per cent, and as such, most new citizenship applications are being processed within 12 months.
“As the Prime Minister has said many times, we are a strong country because of our diversity and not in spite of it. During Citizenship Week, let us join together and celebrate that diversity and the hundreds of cultures that make up Canada.
“I encourage Canadians to reaffirm their citizenship this week as a sign of pride in our traditions, history, and institutions.”
For more information on immigrating to Canada and Canadian citizenship, log on to www.cic.gc.ca.