Citizenship ceremony opening

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Playing of videos

Promotional videos provided or approved by National Headquarters (NHQ) can be played in the course of all citizenship ceremonies, whether it be at the opening, in the middle or at the closing portion of the ceremony.

Check-in of candidates for citizenship ceremony

Before candidates are allowed to take the Oath of Citizenship and receive their Certificate of Canadian Citizenship at a citizenship ceremony, CIC officials are to ensure that the following steps are taken:

  • Verify the identity of the candidates (see also the Accommodation for candidates wearing full or partial face coverings at check-in section below).
  • Ask candidates wearing a partial or full face covering if they are willing to remove their face covering during the taking of the Oath (see Oath of Citizenship).
  • Ensure the Permission Release and Consent form (page 3 of the CIT 0024 form) is signed by any applicants 18 years of age or older. See Media considerations for citizenship ceremonies.
  • Update the candidate’s status by affixing the stamp “Holder is No Longer a Permanent Resident” on the Record of Landing [IMM 1000]. It is not necessary to update the Confirmation of Permanent Residence [IMM 5292 or IMM 5688]. The phrase “Not Valid to Travel” is pre-printed on the IMM 5292 and IMM 5688 forms.
  • Retrieve the permanent resident cards from the candidates (as per subsection 60(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations) in order to return them to the permanent resident card processing centre for destruction. Refer to Revocation of permanent resident cards upon granting of citizenship for instructions on what to do if the candidate forgets to bring their permanent resident card or reports it lost or stolen.
  • Ensure candidates confirm that they are not subject to any criminal or immigration proceedings since the filing of their Application for Canadian Citizenship by signing the “Prohibitions” section of the Oath of Citizenship form [CIT 0049] before the start of the ceremony. For administrative reasons, the signature for the “Prohibitions” section may be obtained when candidates sign the Oath of Citizenship during the ceremony. Offices have the discretion to choose either option.
    • Candidates declaring prohibitions before the start of the ceremony cannot take the Oath of Citizenship.
    • Candidates declaring prohibitions after taking or signing the Oath of Citizenship will be dealt with following the procedures in Revocation of citizenship.

Important

  • Applicants who do not bring their IMM 1000 form may be allowed to take the Oath of Citizenship, but will not receive their certificate of Canadian citizenship until they return to the local CIC office with their IMM 1000 form to have it stamped.
  • Both the IMM 1000 and IMM 5292 forms should be retained by the applicant for information purposes only (e.g., date of entry to Canada and date permanent resident status was acquired).

Accommodation for candidates wearing full or partial face coverings at check-in

Candidates for citizenship wearing a full or partial face covering must be identified before the ceremony. In the case of a female candidate, this should be done in private by a female citizenship official, who will ask the candidate to reveal her face to confirm her identity against the documents on file.

At that time, the citizenship official must ask the candidate if they are willing to remove their face covering during the Oath-taking portion of the public ceremony.

  • If the candidate indicates that they are willing to remove their face covering, they proceed to the ceremony with all other candidates.
  • If the candidate indicates that they are not willing to remove their face covering due to a sincerely held religious belief, accommodation is to be provided (see the Accommodation for candidates wearing full or partial face coverings section).

Preamble to the citizenship ceremony

When the candidates, their guests and other invited guests are in their seats, the clerk of the ceremony gives the preamble or instructions about the ceremony.

The clerk welcomes everyone and then introduces himself or herself, the citizenship judge or volunteer presiding official, and other CIC/citizenship staff. The clerk tells the candidates what will happen during the ceremony and what they are required to do.

The language should be clear and simple, gender-neutral, and be recited slowly. If one or more of the candidates have identified French as their preferred language of choice, all of the preamble messages must be delivered bilingually.

The preamble should include the following:

  • a statement that out of respect for the citizenship judge or volunteer presiding official, hats are not to be worn (does not apply to religious head coverings) and gum chewing is not permitted in the ceremony room;
  • a statement that a family member or friend may be asked to escort their children to a designated area away from the ceremony or out of the ceremony room, and remain with them should the children become disruptive to the ceremony;
  • a statement that all communication devices (e.g., cell phone, blackberry, pager) are to be turned off;
  • a statement about emergency safety procedures and the location of washroom facilities;
  • an explanation of the logistics of the ceremony:
    • about the use of a holy book for those candidates who choose to swear the Oath of Citizenship,
    • that candidates for citizenship will be asked to repeat the Oath of Citizenship after the judge or presiding official, and that they may either “swear” or “affirm” the Oath of Citizenship (although the judge or presiding official will state “I swear”, candidates for citizenship may state either “I swear” or “I affirm”, but not both),
    • that during the taking of the Oath of Citizenship, candidates must repeat the Oath in either English or French, or in both languages:
      • “Taking the Oath is the final legal requirement to become a Canadian citizen.”
      • “The judge or presiding official or the CIC officials must be satisfied that you have taken the Oath of Citizenship in English, French, or both languages.”
      • “If there is any doubt by the judge or presiding official or the CIC officials that you have taken the Oath, you will not be called forward to receive your certificate.”
    • that new citizens must return to their assigned seats;
  • a statement that minors under 14 years of age do not have to repeat the Oath of Citizenship but may if they wish;
  • the singing of “O Canada” (words are included in the program), introducing a guest singer or choir, if applicable;
  • a mention of the reception, if applicable;
  • an explanation of what is included in the program folders (a message from the Minister, Becoming a Canadian Citizen brochure and the national anthem card);
  • a statement indicating that taking photos and videotaping are allowed during the ceremony, including during the administration of the Oath of Citizenship, provided that they are doing so from their seats or from a designated area, and are not interrupting the flow of the ceremony or being disrespectful/disruptive to those taking the Oath;
  • a reminder that the citizenship judge or volunteer presiding official, RCMP and other special guests will be available for pictures following the ceremony (include the location) if applicable;
  • a reminder that a candidate is not a citizen until they repeat the Oath of Citizenship, sign the Oath of Citizenship form and are presented with the Certificate of Canadian Citizenship;
  • instructions indicating that candidates will then go to the table to sign the Oath of Citizenship form;
  • instructions indicating that parents sign the Oath of Citizenship form for minors under 14 years of age, if applicable;
  • the speech regarding the Cultural Access Pass.

The clerk closes the preamble by saying that the ceremony is about to begin. It is preferable that all of the above instructions be provided before the ceremony begins. The following, however, could be delivered at the end of the event in a standard ceremony that is not followed by a reception:

  • an explanation of what is in the certificate package, emphasizing the importance of safeguarding its contents and reminding candidates that it is important to check the certificate package to be sure it is complete and accurate;
  • a statement on the importance of making corrections to information in the certificate package as soon as possible after the ceremony;
  • a statement that the Certificate of Canadian Citizenship is not a travel document and that a Canadian passport is the only reliable document available to Canadians for the purpose of international travel;
  • a reminder of the importance of safeguarding their Confirmation of permanent residence papers after becoming citizens as they may be required to show it at a later time to other levels of government (e.g., to obtain old age security benefit).

Entering the ceremony room

Clerk of the ceremony

When the Governor General or a lieutenant governor are attending the ceremony

At ceremonies where the Governor General or a lieutenant governor are in attendance, they should enter separately from the other members of the platform party. Special guests are seated in advance of the arrival of the Governor General or a lieutenant governor, and the citizenship judge or volunteer presiding official; or the Governor General or lieutenant governor can enter at the front, followed by the platform party. See Order of precedence at a citizenship ceremony.

When the Prime Minister, a federal cabinet minister or a premier is attending the ceremony

At ceremonies where the Prime Minister, a federal cabinet minister, or a premier is in attendance, they should enter separately from the other members of the platform party. The special guests are seated in their places in advance of the arrival of the Prime Minister, federal cabinet minister or premier and citizenship judge or volunteer presiding official; or the Prime Minister, federal cabinet minister or premier can enter at the front, followed by the platform party. See Order of precedence at a citizenship ceremony.

Opening the ceremony

See Bilingual text for the clerk of the ceremony.

The clerk of the ceremony signals the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officer standing at the entrance to the room, who says the following:

All rise.
Veuillez vous lever.

If an RCMP officer is not available, the clerk of the ceremony opens the ceremony.

The RCMP officer then leads the citizenship judge or volunteer presiding official and special guests into the room and to the stage area. See Order of precedence at a citizenship ceremony.

When the citizenship judge or volunteer presiding official and special guests are in their places on stage, the RCMP officer moves to the far left of the stage (as seen by the audience).

The judge or presiding official and special guests sit down. The RCMP officer then says the following:

This citizenship ceremony is now in session.
La cérémonie de citoyenneté est maintenant commencée.

The RCMP officer remains standing at the far left of the stage area for the ceremony.

The clerk of the ceremony then says the following:

Please be seated.
Veuillez vous asseoir.

When the candidates and guests are seated, the clerk says the following:

Judge, Mr. Mrs. Ms. (name of citizenship judge or presiding official), in accordance with the provisions of the Citizenship Act, it is my privilege to present to you (number of) candidates for citizenship who have complied with the requirements of the Citizenship Act and are now ready to take the Oath of Citizenship—the final legal requirement to become a Canadian citizen.
Juge, Monsieur, Madame (nom du juge de la citoyenneté ou du président de cérémonie), conformément aux dispositions de la Loi sur la citoyenneté, j’ai le privilège de vous présenter (nombre) demandeurs de citoyenneté qui se sont conformés aux exigences de la Loi sur la citoyenneté et qui sont maintenant prêts à prononcer le serment de citoyenneté — la dernière exigence juridique pour devenir citoyen canadien.

Opening the ceremony when the Governor General or a lieutenant governor is a special guest

Once the candidates, their families and friends, and the special guests are seated, the RCMP officer calls for order and says the following:

All rise. Please stand for the arrival of His/Her Excellency, the Governor General and other members of the platform party.
Veuillez vous lever pour accueillir Son Excellence le gouverneur général et les autres dignitaires.

or

All rise. Please stand for the arrival of His/Her Honour, the Lieutenant Governor of (name of province).
Veuillez vous lever pour accueillir Son Honneur le lieutenant gouverneur de (nom de la province).

The RCMP officer escorts the Governor General or lieutenant governor and the citizenship judge or volunteer presiding official to an assigned place in the stage area of the room where the ceremony is being held.

The Vice-Regal Salute is then played: the first six bars of the royal anthem “God Save the Queen”, followed by a short version (the first four bars and the last four bars) of the national anthem “O Canada”. There are no words to this anthem. Guests should be advised not to sing during the playing of the Salute. Government houses have recordings of the Vice-Regal Salute.

Following the Vice-Regal Salute, the RCMP officer says the following:

This citizenship ceremony is now in session.
La cérémonie de citoyenneté est maintenant commencée.

The clerk of the ceremony then says the following:

Please be seated.
Veuillez vous asseoir.

The ceremony then proceeds in the usual way until the presentation of certificates.

Opening the ceremony when the Prime Minister, a federal cabinet minister or a provincial premier is a special guest

Once the candidates, their families and friends, and the special guests are seated, the RCMP officer calls for order and says the following:

All rise. Please stand for the arrival of the (Prime Minister, cabinet minister or premier).
Veuillez vous lever pour l’arrivée du (premier ministre, ministre fédéral ou premier ministre provincial).

The RCMP escorts the Prime Minister, cabinet minister or premier, and the citizenship judge or presiding official to an assigned place in the stage area of the room where the ceremony is being held.

While everyone is still standing, the RCMP officer says the following:

This citizenship ceremony is now in session.
La cérémonie de citoyenneté est maintenant commencée.

The clerk of the ceremony then says the following:

Please be seated.
Veuillez vous asseoir.

The ceremony then proceeds in the usual way until the presentation of certificates.

Welcoming remarks

The citizenship judge or volunteer presiding official offers “words of welcome” to candidates and guests to the ceremony. The welcome emphasizes the importance of active citizenship, the contribution each new citizen can make to Canadian society and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

The judge or volunteer presiding officer speaks for no longer than three to four minutes.

The following is to be included when speaking about the rights and responsibilities of Canadian Citizenship during remarks to new citizens:

As you know, Canada is a bilingual country and has two official languages: English and French. These languages are recognized in all the institutions of Parliament and the Government of Canada. You have the right to be served in either official language when you deal with the federal government.
Comme vous le savez, le Canada est un pays bilingue qui a deux langues officielles : le français et l’anglais. Ces langues sont reconnues par toutes les institutions parlementaires et le gouvernement du Canada. Vous avez le droit d’être servi dans la langue officielle de votre choix lorsque vous faites affaire avec le gouvernement fédéral.

Living in Canada, you and your family have the opportunity to learn Canada’s two official languages: English and French. Although some of you may still be trying to master your English languages skills, I encourage all of you who do not speak or understand French, to go out and learn French, which is Canada’s other official language.
En vivant au Canada, vous et votre famille avez l’occasion d’apprendre les deux langues officielles du pays, le français et l’anglais. Bien que certains d’entre vous soient encore en train de parfaire vos habiletés en français, j’encourage tous ceux et celles d’entre vous qui ne parlent pas ou qui ne comprennent pas l’anglais, à tenter de l’apprendre, puisque c’est l’autre langue officielle du Canada.

The citizenship judge or volunteer presiding official must also acknowledge the presence of any member of the Canadian Forces (CF) or veteran at the ceremony in the words of welcome to the new citizens, where active citizenship through military service or during war time is referenced. The CF member or veteran in attendance should also be officially recognized and thanked for their service and dedication to Canada.

The citizenship judge or volunteer presiding official says the following:

In the words of welcome

We are honoured to have with us here today (insert name), who is a (member of the Canadian Forces /veteran of the (blank)). We give thanks to the men and women who wear/wore the Canadian uniform and serve/have served our country.
Nous sommes honorés d’avoir (nom et titre/rang du membre des Forces canadiennes ou de l’ancien combattant) avec nous ici, aujourd’hui. Nous remercions les hommes et les femmes qui portent/ont porté l’uniforme canadien et servent/ont servi notre pays.

In the opening remarks

As a Canadian citizen, you live in a democratic country where individual rights and freedoms are respected. Thousands of brave Canadians have fought and died for these rights and freedoms. The commitment to Canada of our men and women in uniform should never be forgotten or go unrecognized. We thank them.
En qualité de citoyen canadien, vous vivez dans une société démocratique où l’on respecte les droits et libertés individuels. Des milliers de braves Canadiens se sont battus et ont donné leur vie afin de protéger ces droits et libertés. L’engagement de ces hommes et de ces femmes en uniforme envers le Canada ne doit jamais être oublié ou passer inaperçu. Nous les remercions.

We are very fortunate to have (name of CF member or veteran) with us here today (ask the guest CF member or veteran to stand) who is a member of the Canadian Forces/veteran of (blank). (Insert brief biographical notes on the CF member or veteran, such as when they joined, when and where they served).
Nous sommes très heureux d’accueillir parmi nous aujourd’hui (nom du membre des Forces canadiennes ou de l’ancien combattant) qui est un ancien combattant de (vide) / membre des Forces canadiennes. (Insérer de brèves notes biographiques sur le membre des Forces canadiennes ou l’ancien combattant; c.-à-d. quand il s’est joint aux Forces canadiennes et les endroits et périodes où il a servi.)

Countries of origin

Before administering the Oath of Citizenship, the citizenship judge or volunteer presiding official will state the total number of countries or places of origin of the candidates. The names of the countries must not be announced.

Countries of origin are available in the Global Case Management System (GCMS).

The citizenship judge or volunteer presiding official says the following:

Today’s candidates for citizenship come from (number of countries).
Les candidats à la citoyenneté d’aujourd’hui viennent de (nombre) pays.

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