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A Guide to Canadas Special Citizenship Ceremonies

Many countries require new citizens from overseas to attend a citizenship ceremony, where they affirm to respect the rights of the country and are presented with a citizenship certificate.

Most of these citizenship ceremonies tend to be held within government buildings, such as a Townhall. However, Canada is known for making a grand display of their citizenship ceremonies by holding them at major sporting events.

Whilst not every citizenship ceremony in Canada is this elaborate; their special ceremonies account for around 15% of annual allegiances. Some of Canada’s citizenship ceremonies over the years have been held at National Hockey League (NHL) games and the Pan American Games.

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Why does Canada hold special citizenship ceremonies?

Canada is recognised as a particularly progressive and multicultural country, welcoming large numbers of immigrants each year. 2019 saw over 313,000 immigrants enter Canada, and although 2020 was lower as a result of COVID-19, over 284,000 new citizens were welcomed.

Canada views these special citizenship ceremonies as a chance to truly welcome and support all new citizens entering the country and has become an emblem for their culture and progressive nature.

What happens at Canada’s special citizenship ceremonies?

In 2015, 100 new citizens from 58 countries were sworn in as new Canadians at a special sport-themed citizenship ceremony which kicked off the 100-day countdown to the Toronto 2015 Pan and Parapan American Games. Canada’s former Citizenship and Immigration Minister, Chris Alexander, personally welcomed the country’s newest citizens at the ceremony, which took place at the new YMCA facility at the CIBC Pan Am/Parapan Am Athletes’ Village in Toronto.

At the ceremony, Mr Alexander emphasised the importance of sport in bringing together individuals of different cultures. “As Canadians, we are proud of the role sport plays in bringing individuals together and achieving unity in our diversity,” the Minister said.

“Today, as we continue to celebrate Canada’s Year of Sport, we are also excited to begin the 100-day countdown to the Pan and Parapan American Games. That is why it is so moving to welcome these new members of the Canadian family at such an important community venue, which will see individuals from across the Americas come together in sport later this year. On behalf of the Government of Canada, I would like to extend our warmest congratulations to this country’s 100 newest citizens.”

The new citizens attended a reception hosted by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship. They were honoured at an official 100-day countdown reception, which featured speeches by Olympian Catriona Le May Doan and other dignitaries.

The Pan and Parapan American Games was one of the largest multisport events ever held in Canada and gathered more than 10,000 athletes, coaches and officials from across the Americas.

What is expected for Canadian immigration in 2021?

As a result of COVID-19 and travel restrictions, Canada’s immigration levels took a hit during 2020. With the coronavirus pandemic still globally active at the start of 2021, Canadian immigration for the coming year remains very much uncertain.

Canada began its rollout of the Pfizer vaccine in December 2020 and aims to vaccinate all who wish to receive the injection by September 2021. It’s hoped that the vaccine will allow immigration levels within the country to return to normal later this year, along with the easing of travel restrictions.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Canada remains committed to safely welcoming as many immigrants, temporary overseas workers and international students as possible. The Canadian Government has stated its aim to welcome over 400,000 immigrants per year, though it’s doubtful that Canada will achieve this target in 2021.

It’s thought that a clearer picture of Canadian immigration will come into view during late January when Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, is set to provide new mandate letters to cabinet ministers.