Accessibility at citizenship ceremonies

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

Special needs

Candidates with special needs may be accompanied by a guide dog, their own sign language interpreter or other persons to help them during the ceremony. Citizenship staff should make every effort to seat candidates with special needs in the first row, and have the presenter take the certificates to them. A seat next to the candidate can be reserved for the interpreter or care provider.

Citizenship staff should help any person who requires assistance.

If the person taking the oath or making an affidavit or declaration is visually impaired, they should be offered the document in either large print or Braille, or be given the option to have it read to them.

If the person taking the oath or making the affidavit or declaration has literacy issues, the official reads the affidavit or declaration to the person. The official must be sure that the person understands the affidavit or declaration. The person then signs or makes their mark.

Sign language interpreter

When a candidate who requires the service of a sign language interpreter takes the oath of citizenship during the ceremony, every effort should be made to seat this candidate in the first row. The interpreter, standing at the front of the room at this point, will repeat the oath after the citizenship judge or the volunteer presiding official, in the appropriate sign language, to the candidate who will repeat the oath in the same language. The candidate nods to indicate his/her understanding of the contents of the oath. The interpreter does not need to repeat out loud what the candidate says.

The signature of the oath form must take place with the interpreter present to ensure that the candidate has accepted and is bound by the contents of the oath. The interpreter reads the oath form and translates the contents of the oath form in sign language to the candidate. The above procedure has to be explained to the candidate and to the interpreter prior to the ceremony. The sign language interpreter will not only translate the oath, but also all procedures related to the ceremony.

See also Venue and set-up – Accessibility/Special needs.

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