Working with the Canadian Armed Forces members and veterans

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.

All efforts should be made to ensure that an active Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) member or a veteran is 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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Contacting a CAF member

In the initial stages of planning for citizenship ceremonies, citizenship staff should

  • contact their CAF representative to discuss participation at upcoming citizenship ceremonies;
  • identify a CAF member to take part in ceremonies.

Citizenship staff should contact National Headquarters (NHQ) if they require information about CAF representatives for their local office.

Contacting a veteran

In the initial stages of planning for citizenship ceremonies, citizenship staff should use the list of regional veteran associations created by Veterans Affairs Canada to identify a veteran to take part in ceremonies. Citizenship staff should contact NHQ to obtain the list.

Citizenship staff can contact a local Royal Canadian Legion directly. However, they must specify that a veteran is requested for the ceremony, as not all members are veterans.

If citizenship staff are approached by a veteran or an individual who would like to recommend a veteran to participate in a citizenship ceremony, citizenship staff must obtain the veteran’s identification number before allowing the veteran to participate in the ceremony. Citizenship staff should then provide the identification number to the liaison officer of Veterans Affairs Canada, who will verify the status of the veteran’s release. The department cannot approve working with veterans who were released dishonourably.

Next steps

Citizenship staff should give participating CAF members and veterans a handout explaining the general guidelines for their participation at citizenship ceremonies.

Citizenship staff must ensure that CAF members and veterans are entered into the Global Case Management System (GCMS) by selecting “Veteran/Member” in the “Cdn Forces” sub-type drop-down option.

Citizenship staff are encouraged to accommodate CAF members and veterans by looking into whether these guests have any accessibility requirements or special needs.

Ceremonies with a Federal Cabinet minister or dignitary

When a CAF member is speaking at a citizenship ceremony where a Federal Cabinet minister or dignitary (e.g., the Governor General or a lieutenant-governor) is present, an email must be sent to the CAF representative. It must specify the ceremony date and location as well as the name of the CAF member who is speaking. This information will be used to inform the CAF chain of command.

Conflict of interest

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada employees who are members of the Reserve Force should not be invited to participate as platform members at citizenship ceremonies. Their involvement could be perceived as a possible conflict of interest.

Role and responsibilities

  • If there is a platform party, CAF members should be part of it, entering and exiting the ceremony room along with the citizenship judge or volunteer presiding official and other guests.
  • If applicable, they may be seated in a reserved seating section and asked to stand and be recognized by the citizenship judge or volunteer presiding official during their remarks.
  • They may be part of the receiving line, congratulating new citizens as they come forward and receive their citizenship certificates during the ceremony.
  • They may be asked to distribute commemorative items (e.g., Canadian flags or pins).
  • If appropriate, they may address the new Canadians with a short speech (approximately two minutes).
  • They may be asked to be available for photos upon request by new Canadians and their families and friends.
  • They may wish to mingle with new Canadians and their guests if a reception follows the ceremony.

Inclusion in the ceremony speaking points

See the Welcoming remarks section.

For more information

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