Citizenship Processing – Improvement

In anticipation of the tabling of the revisions to The Citizenship Act tomorrow, some significant improvements in number of applications processed this January:

Investments announced in Economic Action Plan 2013 have helped make the system more efficient and strengthened the integrity of Canada’s citizenship program. The immense popularity of Canadian citizenship, though, has hampered efforts to tackle long processing times.

The government will take additional steps in the coming days to reduce backlogs while further strengthening the value of Canadian citizenship. As announced in the October 2013 Speech from the Throne, these measures – taken together – will form the first comprehensive reforms to the Citizenship Act in more than a generation.

While welcome, understates just how bad both 2012 and 2013 were: 113,111 and 128,94 compared to the previous years which varied between 143,595 and 199,866. However, the trend line is improving, thanks to the temporary funding increase that should largely eliminate the backlog and improve processing times by 2015.

The longer term issue is to ensure a business process and ongoing funding that prevents future backlogs from emerging. CIC has traditionally underfunded citizenship (under current business processes), waiting until the backlog increases to unacceptable levels, and then finding temporary funding to address the backlog.

And citizenship applications, as they come from permanent residents, generally do not fluctuate that much year-to-year, and thus are easier to predict, and manage, than previous immigration regimes, where demand was always greater than CIC’s ability to manage (recent changes to Canadian immigration policy have a large “demand management” aspect).

News Release — Welcoming new Canadians.

Israel’s dilemma: Who can be an Israeli? –

As the Canadian government prepares to introduce its revisions to the Citizenship Act, and in the wake of the Prime Minister’s trip to Israel, interesting commentary on the different classes of citizenship in Israel:


Some 60 years ago, the prescient Jewish thinker Simon Rawidowicz declared that it is not only Jews who dwell on the land by right, not sufferance, but also the Palestinian Arab population of Israel. That principle is one consistent with the vision of Israel’s Declaration of Independence, which calls for equal rights for all of the country’s citizens and is the bedrock of Israel’s claim to democracy.


It’s time to apply that standard uniformly. Simply put, citizenship should not be divided into classes. Israel must begin to construct a meaningful sense of Israeli identity and confer an equal stake in the well-being of the society on all those entitled to call themselves citizens. Rights of residence and freedom in personal status issues should be the same for all citizens, whether they are Jewish according to religious law, Jewish only by citizenship or non-Jewish.

Israel’s dilemma: Who can be an Israeli? –

Will a new minister fix Canada’s ideas-free citizenship policy?:

Natalie Brender on the need for a broader review of citizenship policy, given the upcoming modernization of the citizenship act. My expectation is, however, given that recent changes to the citizenship application process (Discover Canada, more difficult test, more rigorous language evaluation, increased fraud prevention) have stressed integrity and meaningfulness, that the act will continue to emphasize meaningfulness, rather than facilitation.

However, that broader discussion on the balance between meaningfulness and facilitation in the context of mobile skilled workers is needed. One of the challenges is how to design policies that provide flexibility for skilled workers while excluding those who are abusing such flexibility with minimal or no attachment to Canada (e.g., expatriates in the Gulf, Lebanese evacuees).

Will a New Minister Fix Canada’s Idea-Free Citizenship Policy

Citizenship Act Reforms

General announcement of proposed revisions to the Citizenship Act, as announced in the Speech from the Throne. Details will be of course in the actual bill, timing not yet public:

Canadians understand that citizenship should not be simply a passport of convenience. Citizenship is a pledge of mutual responsibility and a shared commitment to values rooted in our history.

  • Our Government will not hesitate to uphold the fundamental rights of all Canadians wherever they are threatened.
  • To strengthen and protect the value of Canadian citizenship, our Government will introduce the first comprehensive reforms to the Citizenship Act in more than a generation.

Full Speech | Speech From The Throne