Canadian Citizenship
July 28, 2021

As the Member of Parliament for Dufferin-Caledon I have had the privilege of participating in a wide spectrum of special events and ceremonies. Amidst the myriad proceedings, citizenship ceremonies never cease to captivate me. Each and every ceremony is accentuated by the widespread elation shared by each participant at what is essentially the culmination of their individual citizenship journey. It is the shared sense of accomplishment and pride expressed throughout the duration of the proceedings, by all participants, which incites continued reflection on my behalf. Each ceremony I am reminded by the accomplishments of the participants and of the accomplishments of Canada as a whole on the issue of citizenship.

On January 1st 1947, Canada adopted the Canadian Citizenship Act and set a unique precedent as the first commonwealth country to adopt citizenship practices and policies independent of the British Empire. Since this innovative step towards citizenship, the various governments of Canada have worked tirelessly to refine our unique approach, while focusing on developing policies which would further enhance our inclusion of new Canadians into all aspects of society. Today, a staggering 95 per cent of people living within Canadian borders are Canadian citizens, even though more than 18 per cent of the population is foreign born.

Despite our advancements and successes there is always room for progress as citizenship policies must constantly adapt to reflect the rapidly evolving modern world. This continual adaptation has resulted in policies that have increased in scope and complexity since their inception in 1947 and may have the potential to intimidate prospective candidates at first glance. Thankfully, the Government of Canada is committed to providing easily accessible support services through the Citizenship and Immigration website, which can be found at, Information can also be obtained through the Citizenship and Immigration call center, which can be accessed at any time through 1-888-242-2100 or by contacting either of my constituency offices.

Generally, most immigrants within the country are unaware of the minimum requirements for citizenship, and as a result, incorrectly assume they are more rigid or complicated than is the case. To become a Canadian citizen you must be:

  • A permanent resident 18 years of age and older (different criteria apply to children)
  • You must have lived within the country for three of the four years immediately before you apply for citizenship. Each day spent in the country as a permanent resident counts as a full day towards the three year requirement. Each day spent in the country before becoming a permanent resident counts for half a day towards the three year requirement.
  • You must know one of Canada’s official languages (French or English). This requirement is further clarified as the ability to communicate. You must know enough of one of the languages to understand other Canadians and for them to understand you.
  • You must also know the rights and responsibilities of Canadians. Your knowledge will be tested in a simple citizenship test that all applicants between the ages of 18 and 55 must complete.
There are also a number of factors which may exclude you from becoming a Canadian citizen. You cannot become a citizen if:
  • You are in prison, on parole or on probation
  • You were in prison for a year or more, over the last four years.
  • You are currently charged with an indictable offence or crime, or an offence under the Citizenship Act.
  • You are under a removal order.
  • Your Canadian citizenship has been revoked in the past five years.
While seeming strict, the above regulations are designed to protect new and existing Canadian citizens alike from potentially dangerous criminal offenders.

Once you determine your eligibility you must complete the required application forms which are available through Citizenship and Immigration Canada, or through your Member of Parliament and mail them to the case processing centre, along with the $200 fee for adults and $100 fee for children. Once mailed, you are encouraged to begin preparing for the citizenship test. The easiest way to do so is through acquiring the brochure A Look at Canada available through both of the above sources as well. The brochure provides a sampling of questions, as well as all the potential information asked during the test.

The final step in the process is taking the oath of citizenship at a citizenship ceremony. During the ceremony, new citizens are formally welcomed into the Canadian family and formally accept the rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship. I would encourage new immigrants and permanent residents alike to actively pursue their Canadian citizenship so they too may enjoy the rights, responsibilities and most importantly, the honour of calling themselves Canadian.