Orientation sessions and rehearsals for 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.

A rehearsal for an unusually large or enhanced ceremony can help citizenship staff, host organizations and volunteers identify and avoid potential problems.

The sequence of events for an enhanced citizenship ceremony should be reviewed by and discussed ahead of time with everyone playing a part in the ceremony. A walk-through or rehearsal may also help to clarify all the details before the event.

A rehearsal should be scheduled at a time when everyone can attend. Staff should run through the ceremony, using stand-ins for special guests, etc. If a host organization plans to use a youth group (e.g. Girl Guides or Boy Scouts) to welcome people to the ceremony and show them to their seats, the youth group should be included in the rehearsal.

If there is not enough time to rehearse, citizenship staff should at least check the stage, lighting, sound system and so on.

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Orientation for volunteer presiding officials

The clerk of the ceremony should:

  • Invite the volunteer presiding official to attend a citizenship ceremony well in advance of when they are expected to preside. This could be combined with the first orientation meeting.
  • Ask the volunteer presiding official to bring an up-to-date copy of his or her curriculum vitae, as well as a biography, if one is not already available on file. This will serve as information for the clerk of the ceremony to introduce the volunteer presiding official at future ceremonies during the delivery of the preamble.
  • Give a tour of the ceremony facilities.
  • Give a brief explanation and overview of the citizenship process.
  • Review the booklet, Presiding at Citizenship Ceremonies: A Guide for Volunteer Presiding Officials and other citizenship material, and ask if they have any questions.
  • Discuss the role of the clerk of the ceremony, the citizenship judge or volunteer presiding official, special guests, guest speakers, RCMP officer, Canadian Forces members and veterans. Explain when and how often presiding officials will be asked to preside at citizenship ceremonies, such as when citizenship judges are not available or when hearing inventory is significantly high. These needs vary between CIC offices.
  • Leave time for discussions, questions and answers.

Orientation sessions for volunteers

Orientation is a vital part of working with volunteers and volunteer groups, whether they are helping with one or several ceremonies. The following is a suggested agenda for an orientation meeting with the volunteers.

  • explain the process leading to citizenship and provide a description of the various elements of a citizenship ceremony;
  • explain why CIC holds citizenship ceremonies;
  • explain how volunteer contributions make a difference to a citizenship ceremony;
  • explain that volunteers should act and conduct themselves professionally at all times;
  • give a clear explanation of the volunteer’s obligations, such as confidentiality and respecting cultural differences and sensitivities;
  • explain that citizenship ceremonies cannot be used for political or other reasons;
  • explain that citizenship related questions should be referred to citizenship staff to answer;
  • provide practical information, such as work space and restrooms, if the volunteers are working at a citizenship office;
  • review the dress code for ceremonies;
  • explain that name tag worn should include affiliation, such as: George Jones, Anytown, Chamber of Commerce;
  • review emergency evacuation procedures; and
  • give each volunteer or volunteer group a handout explaining the general volunteer guidelines. See Volunteer guidelines for citizenship ceremonies, and other literature (e.g. How to Become a Canadian Citizen, Discover Canada, etc.).
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