ARCHIVED – Operational Bulletin 203 – April 26, 2010

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

New Citizenship Test – Operational Instructions

This Operational Bulletin has expired.

Issue

The purpose of this Operational Bulletin is to provide information regarding the new citizenship test. Beginning on March 15, 2010, citizenship applicants started taking a new citizenship test based on the new study guide, Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship.

Background

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) first introduced the written citizenship knowledge test in 1994. Before then, the knowledge requirement was assessed through an interview with the citizenship judge. In 2001, the government introduced mandatory questions that must be answered correctly in order to pass the test in addition to the overall pass mark. The result of the written knowledge test is also considered when assessing an applicant’s language ability in either of Canada’s official languages.

The new test, based on the new study guide, is part of overall efforts at CIC to strengthen the value of citizenship and to emphasize the integrity of the testing process.

CIC has mailed out the new study guide to all adult applicants who have an application in process and where no decision has yet been made on their citizenship application. Applicants have been advised that as of March 15, 2010, the knowledge requirement, including the citizenship test, would be based on Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship.

Current Status

As of March 15, 2010, all of the citizenship test questions (oral and written) are based on information provided in the new study guide, Discover Canada. The written citizenship test continues to consist of 20 multiple choice questions. The pass mark is now 75% (15 out of 20 questions) for the written test. The requirement to pass certain mandatory questions remains.

New conceptual type questions have been added alongside fact based questions.

Applicants still have 30 minutes to write the test.

If applicants do not pass the written test, they will be sent a Notice inviting them to appear for a hearing/oral interview with a citizenship judge. At the interview, the judge will ask the test questions orally.

Retesting Policy

During the implementation phase of the new test, there will be a test monitoring period. Certain adjustments may be required to ensure that the test evaluates the knowledge and language abilities of citizenship applicants accurately.

In order to minimize the number of hearings during the transition period while the new test is being perfected, clients who fail the written test during the retesting period and who are not flagged for other issues (e.g. language, residence criminality, etc.) will be scheduled to write the test a second time before being referred for a hearing with a citizenship judge. Hearings are generally more resource intensive for the Department compared to scheduling groups for written tests. Also, wait times for hearings are generally longer than for tests.

These interim retesting measures will be in place for six months (March 15 to September 15) and are subject to change at the discretion of the Department.

A period of two months between the first and second test should elapse before retesting failed applicants. Offices should continue to ensure that test notices are sent out at least 4 weeks prior to the test event.

Clients who have already written but failed the old test based on A Look At Canada and who were not scheduled for their hearing before March 15, will be scheduled to take the new written test based on Discover Canada (DC) before being scheduled for a hearing with a citizenship judge. Clients will be scheduled for this second test once, and if they do not attend to write the test based on Discover Canada, they will be scheduled for a hearing with a citizenship judge.

A copy of the attached Retesting Notice (Annex 2) must be mailed with each Notice to Appear for a Citizenship Test when it is a second test appearance. This replaces Annex 1 (Transition – Special Notices Test and Hearing) notices in these retesting cases.


Annex 1

TRANSITION – SPECIAL NOTICES TEST AND HEARING

For Tests/Hearings scheduled March 15, 2010 and dates beyond (attach to all Notice to Appear letters sent after February 1, 2010)

Test Notices

IMPORTANT NOTICE

Although your notice to appear letter refers to the study guide A Look at Canada please note that the citizenship test questions to determine if you have an adequate knowledge of Canada and of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship will be based on the content of the new study guide entitled Discover Canada: the Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship. You must correctly answer enough questions to achieve a passing mark.

In addition, in order to pass the test, you must also correctly answer questions about the following topics:

  • the right to vote in elections in Canada;
  • the right to run for elected office in Canada; and
  • voting procedures and how to register yourself as a voter.

If you do not have a copy of the new study guide, you can view it on-line or download it at www.cic.gc.ca, or call the call centre at 1-888-242-2100 to have a copy mailed to you.

Hearing Notices

IMPORTANT NOTICE

Please note that the questions asked by the citizenship judge to determine if you have an adequate knowledge of Canada and of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship will be based on the content of the new study guide entitled Discover Canada: the Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship. You must correctly answer enough questions to achieve a passing mark.

In addition, in order to pass the test, you must also correctly answer questions about the following topics:

  • the right to vote in elections in Canada;
  • the right to run for elected office in Canada; and
  • voting procedures and how to register yourself as a voter.

If you do not have a copy of the new study guide, you can view it on-line or download it at www.cic.gc.ca, or call the call centre at 1-888-242-2100 to have a copy mailed to you.


Annex 2

NOTICE – Rewriting Citizenship Test

This is to inform you that you failed your citizenship test and you have been scheduled to appear for another citizenship test.

You will have a second opportunity to demonstrate that you have an understanding of:

  • the right to vote in elections in Canada;
  • the right to run for elected office in Canada;
  • voting procedures and how to register yourself as a voter.

You will also be asked questions to check your knowledge and understanding of:

  • Canada’s history;
  • Canada’s geography; and
  • the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship.

If you fail the test, you will receive a notice by mail indicating the date and time of your oral interview with a citizenship judge.

The knowledge questions will be based on the content from the new study guide entitled Discover Canada.

If you have any questions, please contact the Call Centre at 1-888-242-2100.

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