Liberal Platform: Commitment to abolish citizenship fees

I am still wading through to Liberal campaign platform, and will do a comparative analysis of the immigration, citizenship, multiculturalism and diversity commitments of all parties.

As someone who has long advocated for lowering citizenship fees, it was a pleasant surprise to see the Liberals addressing the excessive fee increases imposed by the previous Conservative government in 2014-15 (from $100 to $530 for adults, plus $100 “right of citizenship” fee of $100).

The net result has been a decline in the number of people applying for and obtaining citizenship, although the decline also reflected policy changes under the Conservatives, since reversed by the Liberals (residency back to 3 of 5 years, language and knowledge testing ages back to 18-54).

The chart below best captures the decline, comparing the last full census period citizenship take up, showing a decline from 77.2 to 68.5 percent.

My analysis of census data did show a positive correlation between income and citizenship take up (What the census tells us about citizenship)

However, while some will welcome the complete elimination of the fees, I always advocated for a reasonable balance between the societal benefits (political integration and participation) and private benefits (right to enter Canada and voting rights). Given IRCC data showing a processing cost of around $530 (2010-11), an adult total fee of $300 would have represented an appropriate balance between public and private benefits.

By eliminating the fees, the platform will most likely be perceived as political positioning with immigrant voters.

“A More Affordable Path to Citizenship

We will make applying for Canadian citizenship free for permanent residents.

With the right supports, immigrants are able to get to work, help build up our communities, and grow our local economies in short order. But arriving in Canada is just the first step on a long journey to citizenship.

Becoming a citizen allows new immigrants to fully participate in Canadian society, and the process of granting citizenship is a government service, not something that should be paid for with a user fee. To make citizenship more affordable, we will make the application process free for those who have fulfilled the requirements needed to obtain it.

Costing:”

Making applying for Canadian citizenship free for permanent residence (sic)

75

101

105

110

Note: IRCC Departmental plan 2019-20shows “Citizenship funding from 2019–2020 to 2021–2022 ranges between $61.4 million and $63.9 million.” This suggests  the Liberals are anticipating a significant increase in the citizenship take-up rate, not just one reflecting the increase in the number of immigrants.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

5 Responses to Liberal Platform: Commitment to abolish citizenship fees

  1. Pingback: Analysis: Why the Liberals are proposing a Municipal Nominee Program and free citizenship applications – Immiversal

  2. Pingback: Analysis: Why the Liberals are proposing a Municipal Nominee Program and free citizenship applications – Overseas Gateway | Reliable Immigration Solutions

  3. Pingback: Canada’s Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen talks about success of provincial pilot programs and waiving Canadian citizenship fees - The Farwest Herald Inc.

  4. Pingback: Analysis: Why the Liberals are proposing a Municipal Nominee Program and free citizenship applications | Canada Immigration News

  5. Pingback: Analysis: Why the Liberals are proposing a Municipal Nominee Program and free citizenship applications | PaperDabba.com

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