Remembering with New Canadians: Members of the Canadian Armed Forces Support Citizenship Ceremonies during Veterans’ Week

December 5, 2019 - Defence Stories

TORONTO – As part of Veterans’ Week 2019, Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members were invited by Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to participate in citizenship ceremonies. Over the course of Veterans’ Week, there were a series of large-scale ceremonies in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) that swore in over 1000 new Canadians.

On the afternoon of November 6th, at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto, 300 Canadians received their citizenships. The CAF members in attendance were Commodore Christopher Robinson, Major Sonia Dumouchel-Connock, and Lieutenant (Navy) Ellie Aminaie.

Commodore Robinson, Director General Naval Force Development, was the co-presiding official at the ceremony and assisted the Citizenship Judge in swearing in the new Canadians. Commodore Robinson spoke a few words about his sentiments of being at the ceremony and said, “this is an important day for new Canadians but also an important day for Canada.”

The new Canadians affirmed their oath, received their citizenship certificates, and lined up to get a photo with the Citizenship Judge and platform party. The hall and the waiting line for photos was buzzing with joy and excitement as they officially became Canadians.

One of these new citizens, Ms. Farzana Abbasi, came from Pakistan in 2013 and took the oath of citizenship with her daughter. “I wanted safety and security for my kids, and a better future for them as well,” she said.

Also becoming a new Canadian was Ms. Yemisi, originally from Nigeria, who came to Canada in 2012 and decided to call Canada home because “Canada is peaceful and accommodating.”

Many families were sworn in together. Mr. Joren Lazaro swore in with his mother and siblings. They came from the Philippines. Mr. Lazaro’s mother came to Canada over 10 years ago, and helped settle the rest of her family here in Canada.

During the ceremony, the Citizenship Judge asked the new Canadians to raise their hands based on age. There were new Canadians of all ages in the room, from kindergartners to university students and beyond, all with so much enthusiasm for their new Canadian identity.

“It’s always an honour and privilege to represent the Canadian Armed Forces at citizenship ceremonies,” said Major Sonia Dumouchel-Connock, the Senior Public Affairs Officer of the 4th Canadian Division Headquarters in Toronto. “Participating in these ceremonies during Veterans Week is especially poignant as it allows us to stand with new Canadians and remember the service and sacrifice made by Canadian military members throughout our history. It allows us to show new Canadians that their military continues to be dedicated to the protection of Canada.”

Captain Kevin Junor, a member of 32 Canadian Brigade Group based in Toronto, took part in two ceremonies over Veterans’ Week. “I have participated in a number of citizenship ceremonies in the past,” he said. “Every time I feel so honoured to be a part of such a special moment in the lives of new Canadians.”

Congratulations to all the new Canadians!

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