The new immigration minister Marc Miller is thinking about a controversial idea: letting new Canadians take their oath of citizenship by just clicking a button. But, as of Monday, there’s no plan to make it happen right away.
Seeking Public Feedback
Back in February, the government asked the public what they thought about this idea. It would mean new Canadians could skip the usual ceremony and use a computer mouse to become citizens instead.
The government said these new rules might start in June 2023, but they haven’t said much about it since then.
IRCC Minister’s Perspective:
On Monday, Immigration Minister Marc Miller said that the department is still thinking about it, and he believes it’s a good idea.
“You don’t want to take these moments lightly, but we do need technological options. The department has been criticized, rightly, for not being adjusted to the 21st century and that option is one I think that we should preserve.”Immigration Minister Marc Miller
He said that the significance of this is for individuals residing in remote or rural areas, stating that they should not be required to travel extensive distances in order to take their oath.
Mixed Views from the Public
In the earlier part of this year, Sean Fraser, who was the immigration minister at the time, proposed the notion as a temporary solution aimed at addressing the accumulation of individuals awaiting citizenship approval.
According to government consultation documents, this modification is anticipated to reduce processing times for individuals by up to three months.
People had mixed opinions about this idea. Some thought it was a good move, while others worried it might make in-person ceremonies less important.
In a statement issued on Monday, the department stated that these comments will play a pivotal role in shaping the subsequent phases and the formulation of implementation strategies.
Keeping In-Person Citizenship Ceremonies
Minister Miller is clear that preserving the option for in-person ceremonies is essential. He understands that these ceremonies are special and meaningful for many people.
The government wants to ensure that applicants can choose what suits them best.
“I’ve heard from Canadians and advocates of the importance of actually being in person. I’ve also seen the importance of virtually, when there’s no question about someone’s loyalty or citizenship or oath or the seriousness he should take the Canadian citizenship.“
What Could Change?
If the digital option becomes available, fewer people might choose to attend in-person ceremonies. This could mean fewer ceremonies happening overall.
The government is looking into how this might impact the citizenship process.
Digital Citizenship Ceremonies During the Pandemic
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the government introduced virtual citizenship ceremonies. This allowed people to become Canadian citizens from the comfort of their homes.
Even after the pandemic, some people have continued to choose this option.
Addressing the Backlog
Despite the introduction of virtual ceremonies, there’s still a backlog of people waiting to take their citizenship oaths.
As of July 23, there were 68,287 individuals in this backlog. The government is working to find ways to address this issue and speed up the process.
The Canadian government is considering a digital option for citizenship ceremonies. This idea aims to make the process more convenient and accessible, especially for those in remote areas. While it’s not finalized, the government values the input of Canadians in shaping this potential change.
The goal is to balance the convenience of technology with the significance of in-person ceremonies, ensuring that Canadian citizenship remains a special and cherished moment for all who pursue it.
Source: CTV News