Presentation of certificates at 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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What a citizenship certificate is
A citizenship certificate is a large commemorative document. It is the only document that gives new citizens a record of their certificate number and lists the date they became a citizen. It is presented to new citizens once they have taken the oath of citizenship.
Who may present citizenship certificates
Only a presiding official (citizenship judge or officially delegated person) may hand out a citizenship certificate.
Before presenting certificates
Citizenship staff must verify that certificates are properly prepared and adhere to the applicable policies for names and dates of birth.
Before candidates are presented with their certificate of Canadian citizenship, citizenship staff must also ensure that
- all candidates have taken the oath of citizenship;
- administrative steps have been taken (see Check-in of candidates for citizenship ceremony) have been taken;
- certificates are in the order they will be presented.
If the citizenship judge, the presiding official or citizenship staff have doubts that a candidate has taken the oath, their certificate must be removed from those to be presented before the calling of candidates’ names can begin. See Oath of Citizenship.
Candidates under the age of 14
Note: Although the Citizenship Act does not require new citizens under the age of 14 to take the oath of citizenship, they may attend the ceremony and receive certificates.
Ceremony clerk address
The clerk of the ceremony addresses the candidates and explains how the certificates will be handed out. See Bilingual text for the clerk of the ceremony for the clerk’s speaking points to the candidates.
Presentation of certificates
Organizing new citizens for certificate presentation
Family members should receive their certificates together.
An entire row of new citizens can be called to receive certificates at the same time. The new citizens are invited by the staff to stand in the aisle, one row at a time, to help with the flow of certificate presentations.
Clerk calls new citizens forward
The clerk stands apart from the presiding official, calls out the names of new citizens receiving certificates and hands the certificates, one at a time, to the presiding official. The presiding official presents the certificates and congratulates each new citizen. The clerk continues to call the names until all new citizens have been presented with a certificate.
When a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officer is present at an enhanced ceremony, the officer leads the platform party from the stage area to the floor for the presentation of the certificates, if applicable.
When the Governor General, a lieutenant-governor, a territorial commissioner or the Prime Minister is presiding over the ceremony, their respective staff should be consulted regarding the certificate receiving line.
Note: The Governor General, lieutenant-governor or Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship presents certificates only when presiding over the ceremony.
Offering congratulations to new citizens
For standard ceremonies, the presiding official congratulates each new citizen and will generally shake the citizen’s right hand and put the certificate in the citizen’s left hand. For all new citizens, including small children, a handshake is the appropriate greeting. See also the Cultural differences and sensitivities section.
For enhanced ceremonies, the special guests on stage stand with the presiding official in the receiving line and, in most cases, should be in the same order as the procession line to the platform. See Order of precedence at a citizenship ceremony. The special guests also congratulate the new citizens receiving citizenship, shake hands with the new citizens and may hand out special gifts (e.g., pins, Cultural Access Pass leaflets) before they return to their seats. The RCMP officer may form part of the receiving line by standing at the end of the line after the special guests or by standing behind one of the special guests to assist with the distribution of gifts (e.g., providing them with flags).
Large “mega” ceremonies
In “mega” ceremonies (with 200 candidates or more), the presiding official may specifically request or require assistance in presenting and distributing certificates to new citizens. In these circumstances, citizenship staff are normally expected to assist in presenting and distributing certificates. No approvals are necessary in this case. However, in cases where a presiding official is not presenting certificates with staff, citizenship staff delegation is required. See the instructions on the delegation to present citizenship certificates.
The delegation to present citizenship certificates at ceremonies is under paragraph 17(1)(c) of the Citizenship Regulations.
Signing the oath of citizenship form
After new citizens receive their certificates, they go to the certificate table to sign the “Oath or Affirmation of Citizenship” form. The new citizens then return to their seats.
After new citizens sign the oath of citizenship form
When all new citizens have signed the oath of citizenship form and have returned to their seats, the clerk (or the RCMP officer, when present) leads the presiding official and special guests, if applicable, to return to their places on the stage area.
The clerk of the ceremony addresses the audience. See Bilingual text for the clerk of the ceremony.
The candidate is henceforth a Canadian citizen and the citizenship certificate is the candidate’s official proof of Canadian citizenship status.
Special guests’ remarks
The special guests, if applicable, are introduced and make their congratulatory remarks, which should be no longer than two minutes per guest.
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