Working with the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and veterans

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

All efforts should be made to have an active Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) member or a veteran in attendance at all citizenship ceremonies, and certainly at all enhanced ceremonies where a platform party or other special guests are in attendance. Their presence is one way to underline the importance of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and to pay tribute to men and women in uniform. The involvement of active serving CAF members and veterans exemplifies active citizenship.

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Before inviting a CAF member or veteran

Before inviting a CAF member, consider the following:

  1. If the ceremony has a federal cabinet minister or dignitary (for example, the Governor General or a lieutenant-governor) in attendance and the CAF member is speaking, you must ask the CAF member to inform their chain of command of their participation in your ceremony.
  2. Honorary members of the CAF are allowed to participate in citizenship ceremonies.
  3. If the ceremony falls within a federal election period, CAF members can participate in a ceremony, but must seek approval from their CAF chain of command before accepting the invitation. Refer to Additional rules for citizenship ceremonies during federal elections.

Restrictions on participation of CAF members and veterans

There are restrictions on certain CAF members and veterans participating in citizenship ceremonies.

Any CAF member who is part of the Reserve Force and an IRCC employee cannot participate as a platform member at a citizenship ceremony. Their involvement could be perceived as a possible conflict of interest.

The department cannot approve working with veterans who were released dishonourably. If you have concerns about a veteran or are not familiar with their service, you can ask to see their Veteran’s Service Card (VSC) before allowing the veteran to participate in the ceremony. The VSC is given to CAF members who have been released honourably. If a veteran does not have a VSC, citizenship staff can refer the veteran to the procedure to apply for a VSC or ask the veteran for their service records, which indicate how they were released from the CAF.

Procedure to invite a CAF member or veteran

  • Contact either a CAF member or a veteran.
  • Give the CAF member or veteran the Information sheet for Canadian Armed Forces members and veterans. The information sheet indicates
    • how the ceremony takes place
    • how the CAF member or veteran can participate in the ceremony
    • how to dress
    • how much time is required
    • the department staff’s contact information
  • Inform the CAF member or veteran how they will participate in the ceremony.
  • Determine if the CAF member or veteran has accessibility requirements or special needs and accommodate them as necessary.
  • Ask the citizenship judge or volunteer presiding official to include an acknowledgement of the CAF member or veteran in their welcoming remarks.
  • Enter the CAF member or veteran as a special guest in the ceremony event in the Global Case Management System (GCMS).

Contacts to invite a CAF member

  • Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Department of National Defence (DND) Communications/Speakers’ Bureau
  • Defence Visible Minority Advisory Group (DVMAG)
  • CAF Bases and Support Units

Contacts to invite a veteran

  • Royal Canadian Legion
    • Find a legion close to you.
    • Specify that you are looking for a “veteran who served in the Canadian Armed Forces”, as not all legion members or veterans served with the Canadian Armed Forces.
  • List of Regional Veterans’ Associations

How a CAF member or veteran can participate

CAF members and veterans can be volunteer presiding officials if they have received one of the Governor General’s Awards (for example, the Order of Canada, Order of Military Merit, or Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers) listed in Eligible eminent Canadians.

They may be asked to participate in the ceremony in a variety of ways:

  • be recognized
  • be part of the platform party and receiving line
  • have a speaking role
  • distribute commemorative items
  • mingle with new Canadians at a reception
  • be available for photographs

For more information

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