Working with hosts and sponsors

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

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) encourages partnerships with a wide variety of groups to make citizenship ceremonies accessible to the general public and raise awareness of citizenship. IRCC does not act as a host or sponsor for ceremonies or receptions after a citizenship ceremony.

Refer to Delegations and approvals needed for a citizenship ceremony to see if approvals for hosts or sponsors are required.

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It is recognized that many community groups have a strong interest in Canadian citizenship. Therefore, community groups and various associations are encouraged to get involved by hosting  citizenship ceremonies. By partnering with IRCC in a citizenship ceremony, a host benefits from raising their group’s profile in the community and raising awareness of the citizenship program. Multicultural associations representing more than a single ethnic group are encouraged to be hosts for ceremonies. Their involvement promotes Canada’s multicultural identity.

A host takes an active part in the preparation and presentation of the citizenship ceremony and/or an informal reception following the citizenship ceremony. The host often provides a facility and welcomes and receives the guests. They may take responsibility for the costs associated with the reception and/or those associated with the citizenship ceremony (e.g., rental of hall).

A host can be part of the platform party and

Host recognition

Citizenship staff can recognize organizations for their service by presenting them with a certificate of recognition. The certificates are meant for organizations (hosts) that have worked directly with citizenship staff. There are no certificates available for sponsors. No National Headquarters (NHQ) approval is required to present a certificate of recognition.

If a representative from the host organization chooses not to speak but wishes to be recognized (or wishes for their sponsor to be recognized), the clerk can do so on their behalf, as in the following example:

IRCC would like to thank our host, “the public library” [and their sponsor “the local bakery”], for their involvement in today’s ceremony.

Hosting agreements

A hosting agreement between IRCC and the host, outlining the responsibilities to be undertaken, must be signed by both parties (IRCC and the host) for all enhanced ceremonies. Hosting agreements can be reused with reoccurring hosts, but the agreement should be reviewed once a year.

When a ceremony is held at a Parks Canada place, both parties (IRCC and Parks Canada) sign the hosting agreement. It should be filled out for every ceremony.

Host responsibilities

The following is a suggested list of responsibilities for hosts of citizenship ceremonies (local offices can adjust the timelines as needed):

  • One month before the ceremony,
  • Three weeks before the ceremony, provide citizenship staff with a map showing
    • the location of the ceremony;
    • public transit routes to the ceremony location;
    • parking areas at the ceremony location.
  • Be available for a walk-through of the venue to finalize room setup and logistics before the ceremony date.
  • One day in advance or on the day of the ceremony, prepare the room by
    • setting up as discussed with IRCC staff;
    • providing and setting up
      • chairs for the platform party, as well as for new citizens and guests;
      • tables and tablecloths for IRCC staff on stage;
      • a podium and microphones.
  • Provide
    • a space to greet special guests before the ceremony;
    • a separate dressing room that the citizenship judge or presiding official and clerk can use to change and to store coats;
    • a separate meeting room for IRCC staff and others in the platform party;
    • a cloak room for new citizens and guests;
    • a table for the registration of new citizens, preferably near the entrance of the area where the citizenship ceremony will be held.
  • Greet new citizens at the main entrance and direct new citizens and their guests to
    • the registration area;
    • the area where the citizenship ceremony will be held.
  • Provide appropriate elements for musical performance (such as equipment, choir, singer or singers)
    • before and after the ceremony (optional);
    • for the singing of “O Canada” in both official languages (when singers are not available, citizenship staff will bring the recordings of “O Canada” on CD to the ceremony).
  • Prepare and monitor the reception area.


A sponsor must collaborate with a host when planning a ceremony. A sponsor does not take an active role in the ceremony or reception, but covers some or all of the costs. Sponsors usually meet costs indirectly (by covering the cost of the venue or the reception) rather than directly (by making a cash donation). For instance, a host (e.g., art gallery) may have a sponsor (e.g., bank) supporting various activities within the host’s organization. Without a sponsor, the host is responsible for the cost of the reception and any indirect costs that would be otherwise covered by the sponsor.

The sponsor cannot address the guests and new citizens at a citizenship ceremony, but the host can thank the sponsor and recognize them for the contribution in the host’s remarks.

A sponsor cannot be included as a member of the platform party, and the name or logo of the sponsor cannot appear on any IRCC correspondence or on the citizenship ceremony program.

Citizenship staff should not be seeking sponsors for ceremonies. Citizenship staff should consult Delegations and approvals needed for a citizenship ceremony before working with a sponsor.

Guidelines for hosts and sponsors

  • Elected officials (i.e., members of Parliament, members of the Provincial Parliament, members of the Legislative Assembly and municipal leaders [mayors, councillors]) can neither host nor sponsor citizenship ceremonies. If elected officials are interested in holding a citizenship ceremony, they should be counselled to encourage a suitable community group or organization to host the event where they can attend as a special guest.
  • Local offices should make all efforts to accommodate the request from the host organization working with the elected official if it will not incur undue costs for travel, resources, venues, etc.
  • Citizenship ceremonies can never be exclusive—that is, only for candidates of a single ethnic or religious origin or for a specific gender or age group. Candidates for citizenship can never be selected based on the preference of the host organization.
  • There can be no sales, marketing or promotion of religious, political or social policies or platforms at ceremonies by a host, sponsor or other salesperson. This includes the distribution or availability of literature and promotional material (e.g., business cards).
  • The host or sponsor does not open or close the citizenship ceremony
  • Refreshments should be simple—tea, coffee, juice, water, cookies or cakes. Only non-alcoholic beverages can be served at the reception. Staff should ensure that a sign indicating “food may contain peanuts and traces of other nuts” is visible.
  • Hosts should be informed that bilingualism is important at citizenship ceremonies. They are encouraged to provide an active offer of service in both official languages to new citizens and their guests when possible. Citizenship staff should provide hosts with the pre-ceremony bilingualism guide during the planning stage and answer any questions. For more information, see Bilingualism at citizenship ceremonies.

Corporate partners

A corporate partner generally acts as a host. They may provide funding to support the event and engage in marketing and communications activities to help promote citizenship awareness overall. The IRCC Communications Branch is involved in developing and managing national private sector partnerships and ensuring they adhere to the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada. Citizenship staff will work closely with NHQ in the delivery of ceremonies with corporate partners.

If there are concerns or questions about the corporate partner, citizenship staff can contact NHQ.

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