News, Politics

New Rules To Become A Canadian Citizen

Immigration sign in Canada. Image: TheTruthAbout...
Immigration sign in Canada. Image: TheTruthAbout…

People who were not born in Canada may have to follow new rules to become Canadian citizens.

A new bill (a proposed law) has been put forward that increases the length of time people must be physically in Canada before they can apply for citizenship.

They can’t say they live in Canada and then spend too much time outside the country.

The government says they want people to have direct experience of what it’s like to live in Canada, before they become a citizen.

The new rules extend the age for being able to speak and understand one of Canada’s official languages.

Previously, people 18 to 54 had to speak English or French and pass a Canadian knowledge test with the help of an interpreter. The new bill requires people 14 to 64 to be able to speak one of the official languages and they may not use an interpreter during the test.

The fee is also going up, to help cover the government’s costs of processing people’s applications.

Poster from 1878 advertising immigration to Canada. Image: PD-Canada
Poster from 1878 advertising immigration to Canada. Image: PD-Canada

The proposed new law gives “citizenship officers” more powers. They, instead of citizenship judges, would be allowed to decide on an application. This should shorten the application time for people wanting to become Canadians.

The new bill will also watch more carefully over immigration consultants, who help people apply.

In the past, some consultants have broken rules and laws of Canada, or cheated the people who wanted citizenship.

There are now 320,000 applications for Canadian citizenship waiting to be processed.

The average wait time is two to three years.

The government is hoping to cut that wait-time to one year, says Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander.

Permanent residents who serve in the Canadian Forces will have their applications processed faster than other people, under the new bill.

He said the bill represents the biggest change in the country’s immigration policy since the Citizenship Act was introduced in 1977.

Critics of the bill say the changes will make it harder for people to become Canadian citizens, which is a step away from Canada’s core value in multiculturalism.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Why do you think a person or a family would choose to immigrate to another country? What factors would influence this difficult decision?

Reading Prompt: Responding to and Evaluating Texts
Read the article carefully to understand the new immigration rules for Canada. Then take a look at the poster that was created in 1878 to convince people to move to Canada. Compare how immigration to Canada has changed between then and now.

Make judgements and draw conclusions about the ideas and information in texts and cite stated or implied evidence from the text to support their views (OME, Reading: 1.8)

Evaluate the effectiveness of both simple and complex texts based on evidence from the texts (OME, Reading: 1.8)

Language Feature: Word Definitions
There are many challenging words in this article. Using your own experiences and knowledge, what do you think the following words mean:
1. multiculturalism
2. citizenship
3. immigration