Appendix A: The Grant to the Institute for Canadian Citizenship: A Case Study Evaluation

Evaluation of the Citizenship Awareness Program
Case Study Report
Evaluation Division
October, 2013

Appendix A: The Grant to the Institute for Canadian Citizenship: A Case Study Evaluation (PDF, 437.94KB)

Table of contents

1. Introduction

1.1. Purpose of the case study

This report presents the results of the case study evaluation of the Grant to the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC). This evaluation was undertaken in fulfilment of the requirement under the Financial Administration Act for federal departments to review Grants and Contributions programs for relevance and effectiveness every five years. In setting up the ICC Grant, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) also reserved the right to undertake, at any time and at the Government of Canada's expense, an independent evaluation of the funding, impact and outcomes related to the ICCFootnote 1.

The report is organized into four main sections:

  • Section 1 presents the profile of the ICC, providing an overview of the Grant, the organization and its initiatives;
  • Section 2 presents the scope, methodology and strengths and limitations of the case study;
  • Section 3 presents the findings, organized by evaluation issue and the objectives of the ICC Grant; and
  • Section 4 presents the conclusions and recommendations.

1.2. Profile of the ICC

1.2.1 Overview of the grant to the ICCFootnote 2

A grant agreement between the Government of Canada (GoC) and the ICC was finalized in 2006. This grant, which comprises a maximum payable of $10 million between 2006/07 and 2014/15, was established to provide support to the ICC “to affirm and promote the rights and responsibilities that are associated with Canadian citizenship and enrich the quality of life of Canadians.”

The Grant Agreement specifies that the ICC must publish an annual report of its activities and performance each year, including, at a minimum, the audited financial statements for the year of the report and a statement of the activities undertaken, including the associated costs and outcomes of these activities.

CIC internal documentation also indicates that the ICC “will undertake an evaluation of the funding and its impact at the end of five years”; however, there is no such requirement in the Grant Agreement. Of note, the Institute did conduct an evaluation of its Building Citizenship Community Citizenship Ceremonies, one of its main activities, in 2010 (described in section 3.2.3 of the present report).

The ICC grant included both an initial grant of $3M in 2006-07 to assist in setting up the operations of the organization, as well as an additional $7M, available from the fiscal framework, to match funds raised by the Institute from other sources until 2014-15. For the initial payment of $3M, the ICC had to provide a copy of its letter patent of incorporation and proof of having obtained its charitable status from the Canada Revenue AgencyFootnote 3. For payments to match funds raised by other sources, the ICC must provide confirmation of the amount raised, as well as the corresponding audited financial statements and annual report. The request for matched funds excludes all funds obtained from a federal department, federal agency or federal corporation, as well as any interest earned on investments.

At the time of data collection, the GoC had paid the initial grant of $3M, and a total of $1,793,579 to match funds raised by the ICC from other sources, for a total overall investment of $4,793,579 since the inception of the organization. There were also three possible claims remaining (claims for funds raised in 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15, to be paid by CIC in 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 respectively).

1.2.2. Overview of the organization

The Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC) is a national, non-profit charity, which aims to engage Canadians in active citizenship through various programs and collaborations. Founded by the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson and John Ralston Saul, the ICC works to ensure new citizens are welcomed and included as equals, create meaningful connections among all Canadians and celebrate what it means to be Canadian.Footnote 4

The organization has as its vision to aspire to be Canada's leading non-government voice on citizenship, and is guided by the principles/beliefs that:

  • Citizenship is an important bond that unites all Canadians;
  • Aboriginal culture is a founding pillar of Canadian society; the ICC builds upon Aboriginal Canadians' tradition of welcoming others;
  • Progressive integration policies (social, economic, political) positively reinforce the value of citizenship; and
  • Citizenship requires that one take responsibility for others.Footnote 5

At the time of data collection for the evaluation, the organization was comprised of a staff of eight, including the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Gillian Hewitt SmithFootnote 6 and governed by a 12-member Board of Directors, co-chaired by the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson and John Ralston Saul.Footnote 7

1.2.3. Overview of ICC initiatives

The ICC has three main initiatives: the Building Citizenship and Cultural Access Pass (CAP) Programs, as well as the LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium; and has supported a number of other projects during the period under study. Programs and projects tend to be collaborative in nature, relying on the contributions of other partners and volunteers involved in the initiatives.

Building Citizenship programFootnote 8

The Building Citizenship program relies on a national network of volunteer committees to organize special community-led citizenship ceremonies in collaboration with CIC. Before the official ceremony, ICC volunteers host roundtable discussions with new citizens, their guests and other community members, at which participants share stories and collectively reflect on what it means to be Canadian. Volunteer committees are locally-based, and ceremonies are often hosted in public spaces, such as schools, libraries, community centres or city hall. Roundtable hosts are business professionals, leaders, and other individuals from the community. After the ceremony, which is managed and administered by CIC, ICC volunteers host a reception.

The ICC supports its volunteer network by holding an Annual Committee Meeting (ACM) and through the provision of tools. The ACM formally began in 2009.Footnote 9 This meeting lasts a day and a half and employs a conference format. It involves capacity building and external speakers, and has traditionally been held in Toronto at the MaRS Discovery District buildings.Footnote 10 The meeting is open to all volunteer committee members. To facilitate representation from committees outside the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), the ICC pays for travel and accommodation for one member from each of these committees.

In addition, the ICC has developed online tools for volunteer committees. In 2011, two guides were developed: Building Citizenship Committees: Formation, Structure, and Operation, and the Guide to Organizing Community Citizenship Ceremonies. The Institute has also developed supporting materials to assist with the organization of the ceremony events, including templates for letters, invitations and agendas.

Cultural Access Pass (CAP) programFootnote 11

The CAP offers Canada's new citizens, a year of complimentary admission to more than 1,000 cultural, historic and park attractions across the country. This program, which is accessible during their first year of citizenship, introduces new citizens to a variety of Canadian experiences, and helps cultural attractions build future audiences. The CAP is first introduced to new citizens at their citizenship ceremonies. If interested, new citizens can register online on the ICC website.

In support of the CAP program, the ICC also formed a partnership with Via Rail in 2012. This partnership allows CAP members (and up to four of their children under 18 years of age) to take a VIA Rail trip anywhere in Canada at 50% off the lowest available fare.

The ICC supports its CAP membership through its website and newsletter. The ICC website includes information on registering for the CAP program and picking up the pass, as well as information on special events and offers for CAP members and a tool to help find the various CAP attractions. There are also links to resources for helping CAP members to connect to employment and volunteer opportunities (described in more detail later in this section). In addition, CAP members receive a newsletter, typically on a monthly basis, which highlights new attractions, special offers and events, exclusive tours and other news and information on ICC initiatives.

LaFontaine-Baldwin SymposiumFootnote 12

The Lafontaine-Baldwin Symposium was originally founded in 2000 by John Ralston Saul, now Co-Chair of the ICC, and co-sponsored with the Dominion Institute. The symposium event was later assimilated into the work of the ICC, and is one of the ways in which the Institute is encouraging national dialogue related to citizenship issues. Described as an "intellectual platform" and "signature lecture event", the symposium focuses on issues of democracy, civic engagement and pluralism, and is seen by the ICC to be complementary to their "grassroots" programming, such as the Building Citizenship program. Following the lecture, there is a roundtable discussion. Participants at these events have included members of academia, government, the business community and the media. New citizens are also encouraged to attend.

Other initiatives

The ICC has collaborated with other organizations on a number of other initiatives. Some of these initiatives are described below.Footnote 13

Canadians on Citizenship is perhaps the most noteworthy among the various initiatives from a national perspective. A research project, the ICC partnered with the Environics Institute for Social Research, the Maytree Foundation, the CBC and the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) to undertake a national public opinion survey to examine people's attitudes and expectations in relation to membership in Canadian society. More information is provided on this project later in the report.Footnote 14

Other initiatives involving the ICC have included:

  • Partnership with Manulife Financial and Volunteer Canada to create an online resource centre to connect new citizens to volunteer resources across the country, which also links to new tools developed by Volunteer Canada and Manulife Financial to match newcomer skills, interests and talents to volunteer opportunities.Footnote 15
  • Partnership with TalentOyster to create an employment resource page on the ICC website, linking to, a job board designed specifically for new Canadians.Footnote 16
  • Partnership with the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance (and support from Grano Restaurant and NATIONAL Public Relations) to organize Order! Order!, a dinner series connecting members of the Order of Canada and Ontario with members of CivicAction’s Emerging Leaders Network (ELN) and new Canadian citizens for an evening of discussion.Footnote 17
  • Participation in, a series of initiatives, helping Torontonians prepare for hosting the 2015 Pan American/Parapan American Games, and looking at how to better welcome and celebrate new citizens. CAP members appeared in two of these initiatives: Fresh Eyes and Births, Deaths, Arrivals.
    • Fresh Eyes at Toronto’s City Hall was an art installation featuring images of new citizens’ eyes applied to the windows of Toronto city councillors’ offices, allowing city officials to literally see through the eyes of a new citizen.
    • Births, Deaths, Arrivals appeared in the Toronto Star during the month of July 2012, featuring the portraits and stories of 17 new citizens alongside the daily listings of births and deaths.Footnote 18
  • Participation in Playing for Keeps, an initiative of the Toronto Community Foundation to “leverage the 2012 Ontario Summer Games and the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games to build social capital and create a legacy of healthier, more active and stronger communities and a deepened sense of belonging”.Footnote 19 The ICC used the roundtable discussion format to encourage volunteers to reflect on how their community efforts represent acts of engaged citizens.Footnote 20
  • Participation in Samara Canada's nation-wide Democracy Talks project, a discussion series, delivered in partnership with community groups across Canada, which brings people together to discuss politics and share ideas for improving civic and political engagement in Canada. The ICC engaged CAP members to be involved in three discussions during the reporting period for the case study, one in Brampton (October 4, 2012), one in Hamilton (November 8, 2012) and one in Edmonton (November 28, 2012). Samara Canada lists the ICC as a partner organization.Footnote 21

2. Methodology

2.1. Scope of the case study evaluation

The Grant to the ICC is an important component of Citizenship and Immigration Canada's (CIC) Citizenship Awareness Program. CIC conducted a case study evaluation to examine the relevance and performance of the Grant, using a goal-based approach to assess results against the objectives for the Grant, as articulated in the Grant Agreement. The case study evaluation also constitutes one line of evidence in the Evaluation of the Citizenship Awareness Program. Therefore, some findings relevant to the ICC Grant have been integrated into the report on that evaluation.

The reporting period covered by the case study evaluation is in line with the lifespan of the ICC, beginning in FY 2006-07 with its creation and ending in FY 2012-13, corresponding to the last full year of activity at the time of the evaluation. Data collection was undertaken by CIC's Research and Evaluation (R&E) Branch between October 2012 and April 2013.

2.2. Data collection methods, strengths and limitations

The case study employed four main lines of evidence to examine the various activities, outputs and results:

  • A document review;
  • Key informant interviews;
  • A review of CIC and ICC administrative data; and
  • An exit survey distributed at selected ICC ceremonies.

A total of 17 interviews were conducted with CIC (1) and ICC (2) staff, one member of the ICC Board of Directors, a small sample of individuals working in the Building Citizenship (7) and Cultural Access Pass (5) programs, as well as one CAP member. Given the small number of interviews and the variety of stakeholders interviewed, a summary approach was used to analyze the information collected from the interviews, rather than coding individual responses for each question.

In addition, the ceremony exit survey was distributed, in cooperation with CIC staff, to new citizen participants (18 years of age or older) at five ICC ceremonies delivered between January and March 2013 (four in the Greater Toronto Area and one in Calgary). Members of the evaluation team did not attend these ceremonies. As discussed in the evaluation report for the Citizenship Awareness Program, distribution of the exit survey occurred only at selected sites for ICC ceremonies, and the response rate was relatively low, estimated at approximately 8%, with only 19 responses collected. Thus, results from this survey are not considered representative, and should be interpreted with some caution.

Potential limitations introduced by individual lines of evidence, such as the exit survey, were mitigated by the use of multiple methodologies, including results, as appropriate, from CIC's broader evaluation of the Citizenship Awareness Program. In addition, members of the evaluation team had the opportunity to observe an ICC ceremony in September and conducted a site visit to the ICC office in Toronto in November 2012. Though not constituting separate lines of evidence, the observations from these activities contributed to the overall understanding by the evaluation team of the work of the ICC, as well as to the interpretation of results, strengthening the overall approach.

3. Findings

The evaluation examined the Grant to the ICC in relation to the five core issues set out in Annex A of the Treasury Board Directive on the Evaluation Function.Footnote 22

3.1. Relevance

Relevance of the Grant to the ICC was examined in relation to continued need, as well as in relation to alignment with departmental and Government of Canada objectives and priorities, and federal roles and responsibilities.

3.1.1. Continued need

Finding: There was an initial need to create and support the ICC through the Grant. Now that organizational capacity has been established, there is a need to leverage the resources of the ICC so that it can continue to contribute to the outcomes of the Citizenship Awareness Program.

The ICC was created through a grant to mark the departure of the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, consistent with the Government’s tradition of endowing a foundation to recognize the legacy of departing Governors General.Footnote 23 In establishing the grant, “the Government of Canada recognize[d] a need to identify and share nationally, information on innovative, local programmes and to identify best practices for assisting newcomers in their transition from immigrant to fully-engaged citizen.”Footnote 24

The ICC was intended to be “an independent, not-for-profit” organization, and “to operate beyond the scope of existing programming,”Footnote 25 indicating that the Department also appreciated the need for other partners, outside of government and its activities, to help newcomers become active citizens. According to CIC internal program documentation, the ICC was “expected to play a leadership role” in relation to the identification and sharing of “creative grassroots programmes,” as well as in relation to research and dissemination of the “evolving Canadian model of citizenship and diversity.”Footnote 26

The Evaluation of the Citizenship Awareness Program supported the relevance of the Grant in its finding that “there is a continued need to promote citizenship in order to reinforce its value among all Canadians and maintain high uptake rates.” It also found that “partnerships and other means of leveraging resources, where appropriate, are an effective way to supplement citizenship awareness activities,” and concluded that “the work of the ICC has contributed to the achievement of outcomes for the Citizenship Awareness Program.”Footnote 27

Thus, the Grant was needed to create and cultivate the Institute to complement the work of the Department, and to respect a well-established tradition of recognizing the service and memory of past Governors General. Now, as a result of the Grant, the ICC is well placed to assist the Department in the promotion of citizenship through its programming, volunteer network, and new citizen membership, as well as through its engagement of Canadian institutions and other partners (described in more detail in subsequent sections of the report).

3.1.2. Alignment with departmental and Government of Canada objectives and priorities

Finding: The Grant to the ICC is in alignment with CIC and Government of Canada objectives and priorities for Citizenship Awareness.

As noted earlier, the purpose of the Grant is “to affirm and promote the rights and responsibilities that are associated with Canadian citizenship and enrich the quality of life of Canadians.” The ICC was expected to “engage citizens and groups, particularly grassroots organizations; encourage national dialogue; and help identify and build national networks and models to strengthen assistance to new and future Canadians and increase awareness regarding Canadian citizenship.”Footnote 28 The Institute was also expected to be a leader in programming and research, helping “to more effectively bridge the gap between newly arrived immigrant and fully engaged citizen.”Footnote 29

Correspondingly, though not explicitly stated as objectives, ICC documentation suggests particular goals underpinning the work of the organization, indicating that the organization “engages Canadians in citizenship through innovative programs, campaigns and partnerships designed to:

  • Ensure new citizens are welcomed and included as equals;
  • Create meaningful connections among all Canadian citizens;
  • Foster a culture of active, engaged citizens; and
  • Celebrate what it means to be Canadian.”Footnote 30

The purpose of the Grant, as well as the corresponding goals of the Institute (as described above), are aligned with the Citizenship Awareness component of CIC’s Citizenship Program and support the achievement of the Department’s strategic outcome to ensure “newcomers and citizens participate in fostering an integrated society”. In pursuing this outcome, the Department “seeks to minimize income disparities and strengthen social integration by... encouraging active civic participation; and inculcating a sense of the rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship and the value of diversity.”Footnote 31

The purpose of the Grant and goals of the Institute are also aligned with other Government of Canada priorities and objectives. It was noted in the ICC foundational documents that the Department of Canadian Heritage supported the creation and mandate of the ICC. In addition, the Evaluation of the Citizenship Awareness Program found that key concepts related to citizenship, promoted through the program, were reflected in the 2010 and 2011 Speeches from the ThroneFootnote 32. These same messages are also reinforced by the ICC.

3.1.3. Alignment with federal roles and responsibilities

Finding: The Grant to the ICC is in alignment with a well-established Government of Canada tradition to provide endowments to honour the service and memory of departing Governors General, and supports the participation of the Institute in citizenship promotion, which is appropriate.

The Grant to the ICC was endowed to recognize the legacy of the former Governor General, the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, following her departure from office. This endowment was in alignment with a well-established Government of Canada tradition to honour the service and memory of departing Governors General, and as such, could only be done by the Government of Canada.Footnote 33

Furthermore, the Evaluation of the Citizenship Awareness Program found that “the current approach of shared responsibility for citizenship promotion, led by the federal government with broader participation from provinces and communities, is appropriate.” The Grant supports the work of the ICC, an independent not-for-profit organization, allowing it to share in this responsibility.

3.2. Performance

Performance (effectiveness, efficiency and economy) was assessed in relation to the four objectives set out in the ICC Grant Agreement. According to the Grant Agreement, the grant was to be used for charitable purposes by the ICC:

  • To identify and help disseminate models of successful, innovative local programmes for new and future Canadians which could become national in scope;
  • To foster formal and informal public discussion, and to bring individual citizens and organizations together to discuss best practices and issues of mutual interest and concern;
  • To analyse and make accessible research which will increase awareness and understanding of issues surrounding the progression from immigrant to fully engaged citizen, including both new approaches and the identification of systemic barriers in our society; and
  • To identify and develop partnerships to further the Institute's programme reach and policy dimension in Canada and abroad.Footnote 34

Thus, results in relation to performance are discussed in the next four sections on: Programming, Public Discussion, Research, and Partnerships.

3.2.1. Programming

Finding: The reach of the ICC has grown substantially since its inception in 2006-07. Though more concentrated in Ontario, the organization is successful in reaching new citizens through its programming and has engaged a network of volunteers and various attractions across Canada to accomplish this work.

As noted earlier in the report, the ICC was founded in 2006-07 and has two main programs for new citizens:

  • The Building Citizenship program, which relies on a national network of volunteers to organize special community-led citizenship ceremonies, preceded by roundtable discussions on what it means to be, and to have become, Canadian; and
  • The Cultural Access Pass program, which offers new citizens and their children a year's worth of free access to attractions across the country, such as parks and museums.

There has been steady growth since 2007-08 for these two programs. The next two sections describe the reach of this programming in more detail.

Building Citizenship program

ICC ceremonies involve members of the community who volunteer at and host the roundtable discussions. The number of committees has continued to increase since 2007-08. The first three volunteer committees were established in Vancouver, Red Deer and Toronto (at St. Jamestown) as part of a pilot in 2007. The program became national in 2008, with the number of committees growing to 15 spanning six provinces.Footnote 35

By 2012-13, the ICC had engaged 31 volunteer committees in eight provinces across the country – British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. At the time of the development of the present report, the program's reach had expanded into New Brunswick and Newfoundland, with a committee in Moncton and in St. John's respectively.

The first ICC ceremonies were held in 2010-11, and the number of ICC ceremonies, new citizen participants and volunteers attending these special ceremonies has increased since that time (see Table 3-1 below). Recently, the ICC also formed a partnership with Tim Hortons Canada to serve refreshments at the community ceremonies during the roundtable discussions and the reception.Footnote 36

Table 3-1: Reach of the Building Citizenship program
Building Citizenship Program 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13
Number of ceremonies N/A N/A N/A 21 31 34
Number of committees 2 15 21 24 26 31
Number of volunteersFootnote 37 N/A N/A N/A 83 448 754
Number of new citizen participants N/A N/A N/A 921 1,315 1,570

Source: ICC Administrative Data

About 57% of the volunteer committees are concentrated in Ontario; of these, about 69% are located in the GTA. While the level of concentration in Ontario is reasonable given that it is one of the main receiving provinces for newcomers, there is potential room for expansion in other high-volume provinces, such as Quebec, where there is one committee in Montreal, and British Columbia, where there are three committees, one of which is in Vancouver. In spite of the significant growth in the program over the last few years, the reach is still limited relative to the overall number of citizenship ceremonies held and the level of new citizen participants across the country. ICC ceremonies represent a little over 1% of all ceremonies and reach less than 1% of new citizen participants.Footnote 38 Any further growth, however, will depend on resources, both those of the ICC and the Department, as they are partners in the delivery of these events. For the ICC, the roundtables and reception are a significant commitment on the part of volunteers. For CIC, there is additional work associated with the coordination of these ceremonies.

Evidence suggests that volunteers are generally positive about their involvement with the Building Citizenship program. It can deepen their appreciation of citizenship and raise their awareness of newcomer experiences. The ICC Volunteer Survey, conducted in April 2012, found that the majority of volunteer respondents agreed (68% strongly agreed; 30% agreed) that being involved in the organizing and hosting of a community-based citizenship ceremony with roundtable discussions helped to deepen their appreciation of their own citizenship.Footnote 39 Interviews conducted with volunteers as part of the case study also suggested that involvement in the Building Citizenship Program can help people to better appreciate the importance of citizenship and can raise awareness about newcomer experiences in coming to Canada. The ICC Evaluation of Community Citizenship Ceremonies found that the roundtable discussions can give established citizens the opportunity to reflect upon their own citizenship in meaningful ways, as well as new insight into the newcomer experience.Footnote 40

The ICC also aims to have Aboriginal involvement in the community ceremonies. The ICC Evaluation of Community Citizenship Ceremonies found that 25% of volunteer committees had successfully included an Aboriginal aspect. This had been done by inviting Aboriginal elders and leaders to be roundtable hosts, showcasing Aboriginal culture (dance, drumming, or music) during the event, serving Aboriginal food at the reception, and having an elder open and bless the event. The evaluation highlighted outreach to Aboriginal people through the committees as an area for future improvement.Footnote 41 Later, in June 2011, an ICC community ceremony was hosted by the Musqueam Band on their reserve near Vancouver. This was the first time a citizenship ceremony had ever been hosted on First Nations territory in British Columbia.Footnote 42

Cultural Access Pass program

The Cultural Access Pass program depends on partnerships with Canadian institutions to provide free access for new citizens. The CAP program was launched in 2008, starting with six founding institutions focused in the GTA: the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Ontario Science Centre, Royal Ontario Museum and the Textile Museum.Footnote 43 It later received financial support from the RBC Foundation to expand the program to other regions. The Institute also worked closely with the Canadian Museums Association (CMA) and other sector partners to expand the number of participating institutions in the program.Footnote 44

In the beginning, the program operated “on a ‘per region’ basis”. This meant that a Toronto CAP member could only visit cultural attractions in the GTA. In 2011, this geographic restriction was lifted so that CAP members could use their pass in all CAP regions.Footnote 45 By 2012-13, there were more than 1,000 attractions across Canada (see Table 3-2).

Table 3-2: Reach of the Cultural Access Pass program

Cultural Access Pass program







Number of attractions







Number of cities / communities covered




30 + Ontario Parks sites

124 + Ontario & Alberta Parks, Parks Canada sites

150 + Ontario Parks, Parks Canada, Alberta Parks sites

Number of provinces / territories covered







Number of Cultural Access Pass members (cumulative)







Source: ICC Administrative Data

At the time of data collection for the evaluation, about 69% of the attractions were parks, including Ontario Parks, and about 39% of the other attractions (such as museums, art galleries and historical sites) were located in Ontario.Footnote 46 Again, this concentration in Ontario is not surprising; however, it does suggest room for continued expansion. Correspondingly, at the time of the development of the present report, the number of attractions had grown to more than 1,200 participating attractions.Footnote 47

The number of members (new citizens registered for the program) has also grown – from a total of 3,262 members in 2008-09 to a total of 64,859 in 2012-13, with the amount of growth also increasing every year. Although information on use of the CAP membership by new citizens is not systematically tracked across the program, results from the Evaluation of the Citizenship Awareness Program showed that 23.2% of new citizens surveyed had used the Cultural Access Pass; of these, 47.3% were from Ontario.Footnote 48

The ICC and Via Rail initiative, launched on Canada Day 2012, has also successfully reached new citizens. Almost one year later, the collaboration had resulted in 1,500 new citizens travelling by train to explore Canada, using every main route VIA Rail offers, and visiting almost all of the 450 Canadian communities served. Although most new citizens chose to travel within the Québec City – Windsor corridor, nearly 20% chose to travel on the “Canadian,” a trip that runs between Toronto and Vancouver.Footnote 49

The ICC conducted a series of test surveys with CAP members, and then compiled the results in September 2011. Though not statistically significant, results suggested that CAP members visit cultural attractions more often than before (as compared to pre-Canada trends), and that attractions generally exceed their expectations. The most popular reasons for choosing an attraction reported by respondents were:

  • To learn about Canadian culture;
  • To enjoy a Canadian experience;
  • To enjoy arts and culture; and
  • For fun.Footnote 50

In addition, evidence suggests that participating institutions are generally positive about their involvement with the CAP program, seeing it as complementary to their objectives and outreach efforts. This was reflected in the interviews, as well as in numerous news releases reviewed for the case study.

For example, one interview respondent representing an institution participating in the CAP program indicated that it was a “perfect matching up with mission/vision. A city museum, huge part of mandate is to ensure that we are relevant to a diverse range of citizens…reach as many as possible, be as inclusive as possible.” Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation Minister Cindy Ady stated in a joint news release: “Because of this wonderful partnership, we are making provincial parks more accessible for new Canadian citizens to explore nature from an entirely new perspective.”Footnote 51 Nathalie Bondil, Director of the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) indicated in an ICC news release: “MMFA is committed to making culture accessible for all, and one of the most effective ways to do this is by offering free access to the museum’s permanent collection and audio guides.”Footnote 52 In another ICC news release, Stephen Borys, Executive Director of the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) stated: "I see no better way to welcome new Canadian citizens and stay true to our mandate, than through the Cultural Access Pass program.Footnote 53 Footnote 54

Discontinued pilot projectsFootnote 55

Four projects, occurring between 2009 and 2010, began as pilots and were later discontinued as a result of internal reviews, in order to use ICC resources more efficiently and effectively and focus more strategically on the organization’s main initiatives. These projects included:

  • The Change for Change, which initiative began in late summer 2009 and continued into the fall of 2010. It offered up to $1000 per volunteer committee, per year, for a community building activity beyond the citizenship ceremony.
  • The Citizenship: One on One program, which was a 6-month pilot project, launched in Toronto in February 2010. The program paired new citizens with engaged Canadians according to interest and across different cultural groups with a view to promoting learning, friendship and more inclusive communities.
  • The Citizenship Communiqué, a web-based program with tools to engage and analyze citizenship-related issues, with emphasis on a selected topic each year. Project planning began in early 2009 and the program was eventually cancelled in September 2010.
  • The Best Practices Awards, another pilot initiative, with a focus in the initial year on recognizing programs demonstrating best practices in civic education. Best Practices Awards were given out only once in 2010.

The ICC also completed a strategic review in 2010, which sought to understand how programs were delivering against their intended objectives, and how the ICC could best serve all of its stakeholders. Findings from the strategic review were presented to, and approved by, the ICC Board of Directors in February 2011.

3.2.2. Public discussion

Finding: The ICC is engaging individual citizens and representatives from a range of sectors, both formally and informally, around citizenship-related issues using various media.

LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium

The LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium is one of the ICC’s main initiatives, and most formal platform at the national level to encourage public discussion of citizenship-related issues. As noted earlier in the report, this initiative was founded in 2000 by John Ralston Saul, Co-Chair of the ICC, and thus predates the ICC.

The event is characterized by a lecture featuring a distinguished speaker, followed by a roundtable discussion, with a focus on issues related to democracy, civic engagement and pluralism. Hosted in a different Canadian city each time, participants at these events have included members of academia, government, the business community and the media. New citizens are also encouraged to attend. In addition, the ICC is looking “to emerging technologies and social media, innovative production formats and platforms, and multiple channels for distribution.”Footnote 56 Correspondingly, more recent symposium events have used other media, such as the webcast format, to facilitate broader participation.Footnote 57

At the time of data collection for the evaluation, there had been a total of ten symposium events, with three of these events occurring since the Department began funding the ICC in 2006-07. Described as an annual event, its frequency has been somewhat less regular since its assimilation into the work of the ICC. Speakers for the three ICC-hosted events were the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson (2007), Siila Watt-Cloutier (2009) and His Highness the Aga Khan (2010).Footnote 58 More information on these events is provided below.

  • The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson delivered the lecture, titled The Society of Difference, at the 8th LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium, held in Vancouver, British Columbia, in March 2007. The lecture was followed the next day by a free Public Town Hall discussion on the lecture at the Vancouver Public Library. This symposium event was organized in a joint effort with the Dominion Institute. Information related to attendance was not available for this event.Footnote 59
  • Siila Watt-Cloutier delivered the lecture, titled Returning Canada to a Path of Principle: An Arctic and Inuit Perspective, at the 9th LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium, held in Iqaluit, Nunavut, in May 2009. This was a partnership initiative with the Dominion Institute, and was the first time that any major national lecture had been held in the Arctic. Approximately 500 people attended the lecture event, including Lieutenant Governors and Territorial Commissioners, the current and immediate past Governors General, and Inuit elders and elected leaders of Nunavut, and approximately one hundred people attended a roundtable discussion the next day, exploring the themes of the lecture and implications for Canada. The lecture was streamed live globally to venues in Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal and Alice Springs by AustraliaIsumaTV, and later broadcast on CBC Radio One. Excerpts were also published by the Globe & Mail and La Presse. This event received financial support from TD Bank and the Gordon Foundation.Footnote 60
  • His Highness the Aga Khan delivered the lecture on pluralism and diversity at the 10th LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium, held in Toronto, Ontario, in October 2010. Approximately 1,000 people from different sectors of Canadian society attended the event, including media, NGOs, government, academia, and business sectors. Telus streamed the event. It was shown in 60 Ismaili community centres across the country, and approximately 20,000 people watched the lecture online. Approximately 100 people participated the next day in a roundtable discussion with John Ralston Saul and the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson to further discuss the themes and topics from the previous day. A short video of the lecture, including commentary from the following day’s roundtable session, was also made. This event was supported by the TD Bank Financial Group.Footnote 61

During the time of the development of this report, another symposium event was hosted by the ICC at the Stratford Festival (August 2013); it featured Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. This event, however, occurred outside the time period covered by the present case study.

Order! Order!

Order! Order! is a relatively new initiative of the ICC, delivered in partnership with the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance and with support from Grano Restaurant and NATIONAL Public Relations. It is a dinner discussion series, connecting Canadians from the Orders of Canada and Ontario, new Canadian citizens and emerging civic leaders. Like the LaFontaine Baldwin Symposium, this initiative also provides a formal platform for public discussion related to citizenship issues, though at a more community level and on a smaller scale.

At the time of data collection for the evaluation, there had been two Order! Order! events, the inaugural event in September 2012 and a second event in February 2013. About sixty people attended each dinner event. The first event explored the topic of “innovation and immigration”. Among the participants were Harry Rosen (clothier), George Cohon (founder of McDonald’s Canada), Margot Franssen (founder of The Body Shop Canada) and David Mirvish (theatre owner and organizer). Amanda Lang, CBC News host and senior business reporter, moderated the discussion.Footnote 62 The second event explored the topic of “From ideas to action – a conversation on recipes for successful civic engagement”. Among the participants were Lawrence Bloomberg, Lola Rasminsky (founding director of the Fine Arts Kindergarten, the Avenue Road Arts School and Arts for Children), and Tatum Wilson (Director of Community Engagement & Planning, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health). Angie Seth, OMNI News South Asian Edition Anchor, moderated the discussion.Footnote 63


The Institute uses the roundtable format to foster discussion among new and established citizens at community citizenship ceremonies. The Evaluation of the Citizenship Awareness Program found that ICC ceremony discussion groups “provide a good platform to reflect on the meaning of active citizenship for new Canadians,” and that these discussion groups “have a positive impact on helping them to appreciate citizenship”.Footnote 64 Similarly, the Evaluation of Community Citizenship Ceremonies, conducted by the ICC, concluded that “the community ceremonies are a successful way to engage new and established Canadians in a discussion about the significance of citizenship”.Footnote 65

The Institute also uses the roundtable format to foster discussion as part of its other collaborations, such as its work with the Playing for Keeps and Democracy Talks projects (described in section 1.2.3 of the present report), and the roundtable discussion on citizenship in follow-up to the national survey, Canadians on Citizenship (which will be discussed in section 3.2.3 of the present report).

Other activities

The ICC also uses other media to engage the public less formally around issues of citizenship. For example, the ICC Executive Director and CEO has published opinion pieces in and the Globe and Mail. The first piece looked at volunteering and its relationship to citizenship; it was entitled “Volunteerism: An Essential Act of Citizenship”, and was published June 10, 2011.Footnote 66 The second piece was published in relation to a Globe and Mail series looking at the future of immigration in Canada; it was entitled “Immigrants aren’t the only ones with responsibilities”, and was published May 23, 2012.Footnote 67

The ICC also provides opportunities for CAP members to share their stories and experiences, such as through the Births, Deaths, Arrivals project, and features on Global TV’s Morning Show and by the Huffington Post Canada. The ICC worked with Global TV’s Morning Show and the Huffington Post Canada to share the stories and experiences of CAP members. Global TV’s Morning Show featured a CAP family on a weekend trip to Ottawa to explore CAP attractions. The family appeared on the show after their trip to discuss their experiences as CAP members and new citizens. The ICC worked with the Huffington Post Canada to create a special online feature on new citizens’ first Canada Day, showcasing the pictures and stories of several CAP members.Footnote 68

Lastly, the ICC uses social media (twitter, youtube, facebook), and posts photos, video clips and interviews on its website to engage people around citizenship issues.

3.2.3. Research

Finding: While research does not appear to be the main thrust of its work to date, the ICC has produced research looking at what it means to be a good citizen and the state of citizenship in Canada today, as well as research and policy analysis exploring the value of citizenship, the effectiveness of community ceremonies and related implications for public policy and programming.

According to early CIC internal documentation, the ICC was expected to conduct a meta-analysis of available research on citizenship issues, including public policy implications, and disseminate the findings to the Canadian public.Footnote 69 However, the subsequent Grant Agreement with the ICC was not as prescriptive, and did not include this requirement. Rather, it outlined a more general objective related to research (i.e., to analyse and make accessible research which will increase awareness and understanding of issues surrounding the progression from immigrant to fully engaged citizen, including both new approaches and the identification of systemic barriers in our society). Follow-up consultation with ICC staff confirmed that the Institute did not pursue the meta-analysis, but instead pursued other research activities.

The case study considers three pieces of research produced by the ICC, each very different, but all seeking to understand issues and approaches related to citizenship. They include a national survey, a qualitative research and opinion piece, and an evaluation of the community citizenship ceremonies, one of the main activities of the Institute. All three projects are described below.

Canadians on Citizenship

Canadians on Citizenship is the ICC’s main research project during the period covered by this case study.Footnote 70 As mentioned earlier in the report, it was a collaborative effort between the Environics Institute, the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, the Maytree Foundation, the CBC and RBC. It was intended to further the national dialogue on citizenship, and is described as “the first national survey to ask what it means to be a Canadian citizen.”Footnote 71 The ICC also expects to repeat key lines of inquiry from this study through to the Canadian sesquicentennial in 2017.Footnote 72

The research study explored the opinions of new citizens, permanent residents and those born in Canada in three broad areas:

  • What it means to be a good citizen;
  • The state of citizenship in Canada today; and
  • Native- and foreign-born perspectives on citizenship.Footnote 73

The survey was conducted by the Environics Research Group, and is based on telephone interviews conducted between November 18 and December 17, 2011 with a representative sample of 2,376 Canadian residents (aged 18 and over) living in 10 provinces. The sampling frame consisted of all Canadian households with an operating landline telephone connection. Comparative data on selected questions were also collected from the American population, based on a 2012 omnibus telephone survey conducted by CARAVAN.Footnote 74

According to the final report, the main conclusions of this research can be summarized as follows:

  1. Canadians believe being a good citizen means more than having a passport and obeying the law. Just as important are having an active commitment to the community and being accepting of others who are different.
  2. Canadians believe that everyone – regardless of where they are born – can be a good citizen. They expect newcomers to adapt to become good citizens, but many also believe society needs to play a greater role in supporting this process.
  3. Most Canadians are comfortable with the current rules, responsibilities and requirements surrounding legal citizenship, including those pertaining to dual citizenship and Canadians living abroad.
  4. Canadian-born and foreign-born citizens share a remarkably similar vision of how to be a good citizen in this country. While the point at which foreign-born Canadians start to feel like good citizens varies, lack of English or French makes this process more challenging.Footnote 75

In addition to the report, the ICC worked with a member of their Board of Directors, Zaib Shaikh,Footnote 76 to pull together a small group of seven new citizen participants from their programs for a roundtable discussion on citizenship in order to collect their opinions and stories related to the themes that emerged from the survey. This roundtable discussion was similar to those held at the community-based citizenship ceremonies, and was followed by interviews with participants to expand upon their opinions and stories, which were captured in a series of video clip testimonials (found on the ICC website).Footnote 77

There is also a link on the ICC website to an online survey tool, developed by the CBC, to allow people to find out how their views compare to those of the respondents to the national survey.Footnote 78

The Social Value of Canadian Citizenship: The perspective of New Citizens

Another piece of research reviewed for this case study was a Roundtable Report prepared in August 2010 by the Building Citizenship Coordinator at the ICC, titled The Social Value of Canadian Citizenship: The Perspective of New Citizens (hereafter referred to as the Roundtable Report). An internal ICC report, the document allowed the ICC to share insights from new citizens with key stakeholders. It was submitted to the Department as an appendix to the Institute’s 2009-10 Annual Report.Footnote 79

This piece of research is more qualitative and analytical in nature, examining Canada’s public policy in relation to citizenship alongside the views of new citizens captured during the roundtable discussions at citizenship ceremonies hosted by the ICC. It was a response to questions raised regarding the value of Canadian citizenship in light of Bill C-37: Strengthening the Value of Canadian Citizenship Act which, among other things, aimed to “better protect the value of Canadian citizenship.”Footnote 80

The report asks three questions, and tries to answer these questions from the view point of new citizens. The questions can be summarized as follows:

  • What is the value of Canadian citizenship?
  • Is the value of citizenship being denigrated or taken for granted?
  • And if it is, who is taking it for granted?

The report presents a policy analysis, supported by findings from roundtable discussions with new citizens who participated in 31 ICC community ceremonies across the country between June 2009 and July 2010. These citizenship ceremonies took place in Abbotsford (BC), Calgary (AB), Guelph (ON), Halifax (NS), Hamilton (ON), Ottawa (ON), Regina (SK), Toronto (ON), Vancouver (BC), Victoria (BC), and Winnipeg (MB), and the roundtable discussions were considered to represent the views of about 2,500 new citizens.Footnote 81

The report makes a distinction between the concepts of “legal citizenship”, which is defined as legal membership in a nation-state, and “social citizenship”, which is defined more in terms of belonging, engagement and wanting to contribute to this nation-state. It argues that “both aspects need to be taken into account when considering the value of Canadian citizenship” and that “a singular focus on legal citizenship is what lies at the heart of complaints that Canadian citizenship is losing its value”.Footnote 82

Thus, the report is both a research piece and an opinion piece that could have been translated into consultation advice for policy makers at the time. The main conclusion of the Roundtable Report in relation to new citizens is:

The value of citizenship depends on how one defines citizenship. What is clear from the comments received from new citizens who participated in roundtable discussions across the country is that citizenship is about legal membership status, it is about belonging and it is about being engaged. Its value is something that is cherished by these individuals who have given up so much to become Canadian.Footnote 83

It also provides the following caution:

There is an inherent risk in recent discussions centred on protecting the value of Canadian citizenship and that is the risk of stereotyping and forming generalizations about the reasons for which different people take out Canadian citizenship. Such discussions tend to focus particularly on legal citizenship disregarding the equally important social citizenship which new citizens consistently praise.Footnote 84

Building citizenship: Evaluation of Community Citizenship Ceremonies

The Evaluation of the Community Citizenship Ceremonies was completed in July 2010, and was conducted internally by the Coordinator of the Building Citizenship Program. A form of applied research, the evaluation was intended to “assist the ICC in determining the effectiveness of its activities and determine strengths and weaknesses of the community ceremonies from the participants’ perspective”, as well as “give the Institute the opportunity to learn more about whether this particular activity (the community ceremonies) [was] having a positive impact on participants and leading to the fulfillment of the Institute’s goals.”Footnote 85

The evaluation used an outcome-based approach and employed multiple lines of evidence. The methodologies used included: a telephone survey with new citizens who participated in ceremonies in Guelph, Hamilton, Oshawa, Ottawa, Toronto and Victoria (41 responses); feedback forms from roundtable hosts (total of 13 completed forms); ceremony observations; roundtable reports from committees in Abbotsford, Calgary, Toronto (4 different committees), Hamilton, Regina, Winnipeg, Vancouver and Victoria (total of 15 reports submitted); and in-person and telephone feedback meetings with CIC staff.Footnote 86

In the end, the report concluded that:

Community ceremonies are an effective way of engaging all Canadians, both new and established, in discussions regarding citizenship. They give participants the opportunity to have their eyes, ears and minds opened to the experiences and opinions of others. This is of considerable value in that it is the first step in rooting out stereotypes and prejudices, combating discrimination and informing a sense of inclusive and active citizenship in Canada.Footnote 87

3.2.4. Partnerships

Finding: The principle of partnership was built into the Grant to the ICC, and underlies the activities of the organization. At the time of the evaluation, the Institute had successfully leveraged almost $1.8M in funding, which was matched by the Department, garnering support for its initiatives from individual citizens and corporate sponsors alike.

In Canada

Leveraging resources is the paradigm on which the ICC was founded. The ICC partners with CIC to deliver the community ceremonies under the Building Citizenship Program, and partners with parks, cultural attractions and historic sites across Canada to deliver the CAP program. The organization relies on a volunteer network for its Building Citizenship Program, and maintains a new citizen membership base through the CAP program. In the past, the Institute has also received financial support from the RBC Foundation to support expansion of the CAP program, as well as from the TD Bank to assist with the LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium.

Numerous other collaborations have been described throughout the present report, including a partnership with Tim Horton’s to supply refreshments at community ceremonies, a partnership with Via Rail to offer discounted fares for new citizens with Cultural Access Pass memberships, and the collaborative research project with the Environics Institute, Maytree Foundation, the CBC and the Royal Bank of Canada to conduct a survey on what it means to be a citizen in Canada.

The principle of partnership is also built into the Grant to the ICC. After initially providing a start-up payment of $3M to set up the organization, the grant agreement matches the funding raised by the ICC (until the end of 2014-15) for an additional, potential investment of $7M, and an overall total investment of $10M. A total of $1,793,579 in matched funding was claimed by the ICC between 2006-07 and 2011-12, representing about 26% of the available grant funds ($7M) for matching (see Table 3-3 below).

Table 3-3: Breakdown of funds raised by the ICC and matched by CIC by year end (March 31st)

Fiscal Year for which Funds were Matched by CIC

Amount of Funds Raised by ICC/Matched by CIC

2007-08 (claimed by ICC in 2009-10)


2008-09 (claimed by ICC in 2009-10)


2009-10 (claimed by ICC in 2010-11)


2010-11 (claimed by ICC in 2011-12)


2011-12 (claimed by ICC in 2012-13)




The pattern in funds raised appears to reflect a general trend of maturation in the organization. There was a significant increase in donations to the Institute between 2007-08 and 2008-09, followed by a three-year period of relative stability, suggesting a shift in the organization from set-up to full operations. Another increase (of about 80%) in donations occurred between 2010-11 and 2011-12, suggesting that the Institute, now well established, has continued to solidify its partnerships and refine its fundraising capacity.


The present report is full of examples of how the ICC is collaborating with other organizations to conduct its activities in Canada. From an international perspective, there are fewer examples, but evidence suggests that there is potential to further its program reach and policy dimension abroad. For example, it was indicated in an interview with ICC staff that the organization has met with delegations from other countries, and has been consulted on issues related to integration.

The document review also found that the ICC has relationships with the Aga Khan Foundation Canada and the Global Centre for Pluralism. The CEO of the Aga Khan Foundation Canada is a member of the ICC’s Board of DirectorsFootnote 88, and the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Co-Chair of the ICC, is a member of the Board of Directors for the Global Centre for PluralismFootnote 89.

Both of these organizations are international in scope and involve His Highness the Aga Khan, who also delivered the lecture at the 10th LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium (as noted earlier in the report). The Aga Khan Foundation Canada “is a non-profit international development agency, working in Asia and Africa to find sustainable solutions to the complex problems causing global poverty”.Footnote 90 The Global Centre for Pluralism “is an independent, not-for-profit international research and education centre located in Ottawa, Canada. Inspired by the example of Canada’s inclusive approach to citizenship, the Centre works to advance respect for diversity worldwide, believing that openness and understanding toward the cultures, social structures, values and faiths of other peoples are essential to the survival of an interdependent world.”Footnote 91 These are important connections with partners whose reach goes beyond Canada’s borders, and whose mandates complement that of the ICC.

4. Conclusions and recommendations

In sum, the case study has shown that the Grant to the ICC is relevant, and is consistent with a well-established Government of Canada tradition to provide endowments to honour the service and memory of departing Governors General. It also found that the Grant to the ICC is in alignment with the objectives and priorities of the Department and the Government of Canada, and that there is a continued need to leverage the resources of the ICC so that it can continue to contribute to the outcomes of the Citizenship Awareness Program.

The case study has also illustrated that the Grant to the ICC has successfully supported the creation of an organization which is well positioned to continue to pursue its activities for the promotion of citizenship into the future. Through its partnerships and programming, the ICC has established a substantial membership of new citizens and a robust network of volunteers, as well as acquired extensive support from individual and corporate sponsors and cultural institutions across Canada.

Lastly, the case study has demonstrated, through numerous examples, that the objectives, as set out in the Grant Agreement, are being addressed by the activities of the organization created by the Grant. To date, the focus has largely been on building a solid foundation of partnership in Canada to advance programming that promotes active citizenship and the integration of new citizens, as well as to build platforms to facilitate public discussion on citizenship-related issues. While some work has also been done to analyze and disseminate research on citizenship and to build relationships to promote citizenship and related principles on an international level, there seems to be room for expansion in these areas.

There are no independent recommendations as a result of this case study evaluation. Rather, the present case study provides evidence in support of Recommendation 2, put forward in the Report on the Evaluation of the Citizenship Awareness Program: “That CIC develop a strategic approach to maximize opportunities to better leverage existing departmental resources and partnerships,” and that CIC could consider as part of this approach “developing a plan for a second phase of the ICC that builds on its current contributions to the Citizenship Awareness Program and explores opportunities for additional collaborative work.”

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