Gifts and promotional products during citizenship ceremonies

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.

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Gifts for new citizens

The department presents all new citizens with the following products at all citizenship ceremonies:

  • a program folder, which includes
  • a Canadian flag
  • a gold-plated, red, maple leaf lapel pin
  • a congratulatory letter from the Prime Minister
  • a Cultural Access Pass (CAP) leaflet
  • a Parks Canada welcome brochure (1 per family)
  • a copy of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Special pins may be distributed at special ceremonies, such as ceremonies held on Vimy Day or during Veterans’ Week.

During a federal election period, the above list of gifts for new citizens changes. See Elections, holidays and other timing considerations for citizenship ceremonies for a list of gifts that cannot be given during this time.

Small paper flags, Canadian flag lapel pins and “O Canada” bookmarks can be ordered and used for promotional purposes at events led by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

When to distribute gifts

The program folders can be either placed on the seats of candidates before the start of the ceremony or handed out to the candidates at check-in time (registration).

The congratulatory letter from the Prime Minister is given to each candidate, along with the citizenship certificate, during the certificate presentation. The letter is included in the plastic pouch at the back of the certificate.

The flags and pins are generally distributed to the new citizens during the certificate presentation. However, they can be given out at another time during the ceremony (such as during registration), if necessary.

Other items can be distributed either before the ceremony begins (for example, given out during registration, placed on the chairs or handed out by volunteers) or during the certificate presentation, by members of the platform party.

How to order gifts

Ceremony-related materials must be ordered with the order form and requested from Publications. These materials include all of the following:

  • ceremony program kit folders
  • flags
  • pins
  • congratulatory letters from the Prime Minister
  • Parks Canada welcome brochures
  • bookmarks

CAP leaflets

For CAP leaflets, contact the Institute for Canadian Citizenship. See Working with the Institute for Canadian Citizenship for more information.

Citizenship certificates and plastic pouches

For citizenship certificates and plastic pouches, contact Forms Management and follow the instructions under Ordering certificate paper stock and certificate clear plastic pouches.

Voting materials for new citizens

Voting is both a right and a responsibility of Canadian citizenship. Therefore, new Canadians are encouraged to exercise their right and responsibility by voting in all elections.

The distribution of general election materials at citizenship ceremonies is a way to ensure both new and established Canadian citizens are informed and aware of upcoming elections. These materials also offer citizens other resources they can use to find more information about voting, including

  • voter registration
  • details on where to vote
  • identification requirements

The following guidelines apply to elections at the municipal, provincial and territorial, and federal levels:

  • Materials distributed at citizenship ceremonies must be non-partisan (for example, pamphlet or brochure prepared by Elections Canada) and should provide the readers with contact information or positive messaging about the importance of voting.
  • All materials distributed during citizenship ceremonies must be bilingual.
  • Voting materials can be distributed either before the ceremony begins (for example, given out at registration, placed on the chairs or handed out by volunteers) or during the certificate presentation, by members of the platform party.
  • Campaign materials of a particular party or candidate cannot be distributed or displayed at citizenship ceremonies or on the premises where ceremonies are being held.

See Elections, holidays and other timing considerations for more information about ceremonies during election periods.

Gifts from special guests and hosts

Special guests, particularly federal, provincial, territorial and municipal government representatives and hosts, may also want to present gifts or mementos. These gifts should be small and inexpensive, non-partisan in nature and bilingual, and they should represent Canada.

The clerk of the ceremony should find out before the ceremony if a special guest or host organization intends to present gifts, and the clerk must determine if the gifts are acceptable and how to distribute them.

Some suggestions for acceptable gifts include

  • lapel pins, key chains, badges and other mementos that represent Canada
    • lapel pins or badges can be on a non-partisan business card with the name of the province, territory or municipality
  • Canadian flags
  • books about
    • Canadian landscapes, history, art or other subjects
    • the province, territory or municipality where the new Canadians live
  • cards and crafts made by children in the community
  • tree saplings
  • congratulatory letters that are bilingual and non-partisanFootnote *

The department recommends against having third-party groups provide congratulatory certificates, as such certificates could be confused with the actual Canadian citizenship certificate.

Gifts that promote solely 1 nationality or demographic group are generally not appropriate.

If an officer has concerns or questions about certain gifts, they should contact National Headquarters.

Special event-type gifts

Small, inexpensive special event-type gifts, such as passes to an activity on the day of the ceremony (before or after the ceremony), from the host are usually acceptable. Such gifts may include the following:

  • access to trails at a park where the ceremony is taking place
  • visit to a museum or establishment where the ceremony is taking place
  • passes to a festival or Canada Day celebrations where the ceremony is taking place
  • presentation at the venue where ceremony is taking place

Larger and more expensive special event-type gifts, such as tickets to a sport event or play on the day of the ceremony, may be acceptable, as long as an element of citizenship is included, and new citizens are recognized somehow during that special event. Such recognition during these events includes

  • new citizens being invited onto the ice or field and recognized at the beginning of a sport match or during intermission
  • candidates for citizenship taking the oath of citizenship or new citizens reaffirming the oath in front of the audience at some point during the special event
  • candidates or new citizens singing the national anthem with the audience at some point during the special event

Special event-type gifts where there is no connection to a citizenship ceremony and no element of citizenship is included are not acceptable (for example, passes to a business’ services, gift cards). The giving of a special event-type gift must be in the interest of applicants, IRCC and the host. Offices are strongly encouraged to contact the Citizenship and Passport Program Guidance Branch when a question regarding the provision of significant gifts to applicants arises.

How to distribute special event-type gifts

Small gifts (like the mementos mentioned above, under Gifts from special guests and hosts) can be given to new citizens by a special guest (such as the host organization) who is part of the platform party when the new citizens receive their citizenship certificates.

It may be best to distribute gifts such as books during registration or after the ceremony, at the reception.

Acknowledgement of hosts

The presiding official or clerk can acknowledge gift donations made by a host in their remarks. See Working with hosts and sponsors for proper wording.

Gifts from sponsors

Gifts from sponsors that promote a particular business, company or corporation are inappropriate (for example, pens with the logo or name of the organization). However, it is appropriate for a business to sponsor a ceremony. Small gifts from sponsors, such as those listed under Gifts from special guests and hosts, may be acceptable.

Acknowledgement of sponsors

The host (or the presiding official if the host does not wish to speak) can acknowledge gift donations made by a sponsor in their remarks. See Working with hosts and sponsors for proper wording.

Approvals

See the “Gifts” section of Delegations and approvals needed for a citizenship ceremony for more information.

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