Evaluation of the Citizenship Awareness Program
1.1. Purpose of the Evaluation
This report presents the results of the evaluation of the Citizenship Awareness Program, including the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC). The evaluation was conducted in fulfillment of requirements under the Financial Administration Act and the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) Policy on Evaluation, and focuses on activities undertaken, outputs produced, and results achieved over the five-year time period between fiscal years 2007-08 and 2011-12. Data collection was undertaken by the Research and Evaluation Branch (R&E), Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), between October 2012 and April 2013.
This evaluation report is organized into four main sections:
- Section 1 presents the profile of the program;
- Section 2 presents the methodology and discusses the strengths and limitations of the study;
- Section 3 presents the findings, organized by evaluation issue; and
- Section 4 presents the conclusions and recommendations.
1.2. Citizenship Awareness Program profile
1.2.1. Program context and objectives
In order to obtain Canadian citizenship, individuals must first meet eligibility requirements, complete and submit an application form, pass a citizenship test and attend a citizenship ceremony where they recite the oath of citizenship before a citizenship judge.Footnote 1 Those who obtain citizenship are conferred legal status in the country and receive certain rights that are not afforded to others, namely the right to vote, hold public office and protection from deportation. In addition to a legal status, Canadian citizenship can also be considered a significant milestone in the integration of newcomers. Canada's immigration policy has historically focused on settlement, long term integration, multiculturalism and inclusive citizenship in order to combat discrimination and social exclusion, promote human equality and respect for diversity, and provide a welcoming environment.
Since the passage of the Citizenship Act in 1947, Canadian citizenship policy has embodied two distinct objectives: i) to encourage and facilitate naturalization by permanent residents; and ii) to enhance the meaning of citizenship as a unifying bond for Canadians.Footnote 2 CIC’s Program Alignment Architecture (PAA) reflects these broad goals in its description of the purpose of the Citizenship Program, which is to “administer citizenship legislation and promote the rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship.” This is achieved through two distinct, but interlinked activities: Citizenship Awareness (PA3.2.1) and Citizenship Acquisition, Confirmation and Revocation (PA3.2.2).Footnote 3
Citizenship Awareness, the focus of the present evaluation, aims to enhance the meaning of Canadian citizenship for both newcomers and the Canadian-born and to increase a sense of belonging to Canada. Through knowledge of Canada’s history, institutions and values, as well as the rights and responsibilities associated with citizenship, it is expected that newcomers and the Canadian-born would be better equipped for active citizenship and can contribute to the development of an integrated society. The program undertakes various knowledge-building and promotional activities, such as the distribution of the citizenship study guide, citizenship ceremonies, Citizenship Week, and other outreach activities (discussed in more detail in the next section).Footnote 4
In 2009-2010, the Citizenship Action Plan (CAP) was launched, introducing a medium-term set of coordinated initiatives with the goal of all Canadians (established, new and potential) understanding, valuing and practising their citizenship. CAP initiatives were intended to:
- Provide access to the essential knowledge base for citizenship;
- Enhance respect for democratic values and the status of citizenship; and
- Ensure the integrity of the naturalization process and promote responsible civic engagement.
Although many of the CAP initiatives have been completed, CIC continues to implement elements of the action plan, with a view to improving the integrity of the Citizenship Program and strengthening the value and meaning of Canadian citizenship.Footnote 5
The following sections provide a general overview of the various citizenship awareness activities, other activities in the department supporting similar objectives, and the governance and resources associated with this program.
1.2.2. Overview of Citizenship Awareness activities
Citizenship is promoted through a variety of activities and products intended to increase knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship, and to increase its perceived value. These include study materials for the citizenship test, citizenship ceremonies, special events and projects, outreach efforts, and the activities of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC).
- Study Guide: The main information resource on citizenship prepared by CIC is Discover Canada: the Rights and Responsibilities of Canadian Citizenship (hereafter referred to as Discover Canada). It replaced A Look at Canada in 2009, and is the official study resource for those preparing for the citizenship test. In addition, its content forms the basis for other informational resources related to citizenship produced by the Department.
- Ceremonies: The Department is responsible for the delivery of citizenship ceremonies, which combine the acquisition of Canadian citizenship with its celebration. Adults and children aged 14 or over must go to the citizenship ceremony and take the oath as a final requirement for the grant of citizenship. Ceremonies can be held on-site at a CIC office or off-site at a venue, such as a school, library, or City Hall, and can be standard or enhanced in nature (having one or more features, such as an external partner, a designated speaker or a reception). Program folders with referential and promotional material have been distributed to citizenship ceremony attendees since 2010. In addition, the Department occasionally holds reaffirmation ceremonies. The most notable reaffirmation ceremony is the Great Canadian Oath event held at Major's Hill Park in Ottawa on Canada Day. Reaffirmation ceremonies may also be held as desired by the public; the Department provides resources for those interested in holding such ceremonies.
- Canada's Citizenship Week: The main event related to citizenship promotion is Canada's Citizenship Week (hereafter referred to as Citizenship Week). It has been held annually since 2000 during the third week of October, and typically involves an increased number of enhanced citizenship ceremonies, along with an increased media presence. During this week, the Department also presented members of the public with Canada's Citizenship Award, formerly named Citations for Citizenship, to recognize volunteer work in support of citizenship values. However, this award was not bestowed in 2011 or 2012.
- Outreach activities: The departmental website is a key vehicle for citizenship outreach to the public, providing information on citizenship applications and processes and on upcoming citizenship ceremonies, as well as various resources for teachers and youth, and resources related to events such as Citizenship Week. CIC also engages in advertising campaigns from time to time in order to create an awareness of departmental activities and products, such as the study guide, and uses social media, such as FaceBook, to reinforce advertising campaign messaging. The Department occasionally sends out emails to schools in order to promote the use of citizenship materials in support of civics education, and staffs booths at conferences or other events in order to distribute promotional materials. Lastly, full-time citizenship judges are allotted one half-day per month to conduct outreach activities, such as speaking to students in a school prior to a citizenship ceremony
- Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC): CIC also provides funding to the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC). The ICC was created through a grant to recognize the service and memory of the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, in keeping with the Government's tradition of endowing a foundation to recognize the legacy of departing Governors General. It was intended to be an independent, not-for-profit organization, operating beyond the scope of existing programming 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. The ICC's main activities include the Building Citizenship and Cultural Access Pass programs, as well as the LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium.
1.2.3. Other activities in support of Citizenship Awareness objectives
In addition to the activities which fall within the purview of the Citizenship Awareness Program, the Department supports activities in alignment with the objectives of citizenship awareness under its Multiculturalism and Settlement Grants and Contributions Programs.
- Inter-Action is the Multiculturalism Grants and Contributions Program. One of the objectives of the Inter-Action funding program is building an integrated, socially cohesive society by fostering citizenship, civic memory, civic pride and respect for core democratic values grounded in Canada's history.Footnote 6
- The Settlement Program is also a Grants and Contributions Program. One of the national priorities identified for direct services under the information and orientation stream is for newcomers to have access to information that helps prepare them to become active citizens, which involves understanding life in Canada, including laws, rights and responsibilities.Footnote 7
1.2.4. Governance of the Citizenship Awareness Program
Governance of the Citizenship Awareness Program is distributed across various Branches within CIC, with responsibility for the management and delivery of the different awareness activities residing with individual Divisions. The following section describes the groups involved with the management and delivery of the program.
The Strategic and Program Policy Sector within CIC is responsible for providing evidence-based policy development, and connecting strategic policy with program policy and design.
- The Citizenship and Multiculturalism Branch (CMB) is responsible for high-level program support, divided between two divisions:
- The Citizenship Legislation and Program Policy Division (CLPPD) provides policy advice to the Minister on amendments to the Citizenship Act and Regulations. CLPPD plans and supports the passage and implementation of legislative and regulatory amendments, including ensuring that these amendments are promoted to Canadians. CLPPD also provides policy interpretation, and manages the grant for the Institute for Canadian Citizenship.
- The Policy and Knowledge Development Division (PKDD) provides support for the implementation of policy directives. PKDD also leads activities related to content and integrity management for the citizenship study guide, citizenship test, and other citizenship education resources, and provides policy advice on issues related to citizenship programming, citizenship preparation, and citizenship literacy among newcomers and established Canadians.
The Operations Sector within CIC is accountable for all of the Department's program delivery activities.
- The Operational Management and Coordination Branch (OMC), through the Citizenship Program Delivery and Promotion Division (CPDP), manages and coordinates the delivery of the Citizenship Program across the service delivery network, provides a liaison function between the Registrar of Canadian CitizenshipFootnote 8 and the Citizenship Commission (see description below), as well as with the policy and communications groups within the Department. CPDP provides functional guidance and advice related to Citizenship Program delivery and promotion to National Headquarters (NHQ), the regions, and external partners, develops operational guidelines and policy manuals, and is responsible for the coordination of citizenship ceremonies and Citizenship Week activities across Canada. It is also responsible for the content of citizenship forms and citizenship-related web pages on the Department's internet and intranet sites.
- The Operational Performance Management Branch (OPMB) is an informational hub for the Department; it tracks resources, workloads, and production levels, and is also involved in adapting data reporting methods to meet evolving needs. OPMB provides the main source of data for reporting on the Citizenship Program.
- The Centralized Processing Region (CPR) oversees the CIC Call Centre and the Case Processing Centre in Sydney (CPC-S), in responding to client enquiries and in the initial or complete processing of all types of citizenship applications at the CPC-S. CPC-Sydney distributes the study guide to citizenship applicants, and the Call Centre provides answers to general questions about the citizenship process and responds to client questions related to active files.
- Regional and Local CIC Offices are responsible for program implementation in communities. Officials in local CIC offices complete the process for grant of citizenship applications. They also organize and deliver citizenship ceremonies, including distributing promotional materials to ceremony attendees, and liaise with community partners. Staff in regional CIC offices provide oversight and coordination for these activities in the regions, and liaise with staff in the CPDP Division of OMC Branch.
The delivery of the Citizenship Awareness Program is also supported through internal services and the Citizenship Commission:
- Reporting to the Office of the Deputy Minister, the Communications Branch provides a coordinated approach to communicating internally and externally on citizenship issues. These range from the development of communication plans and strategies, to the provision of media releases, and assistance at high-profile events. The Outreach Division is involved in all forms of departmental promotion, including advertising campaigns, publications, special events, exhibits, and printed materials. This Division has also assumed responsibility for the publication of the Discover Canada study guide.
- The Citizenship Commission is an administrative body within CIC that includes the Senior Citizenship Judge and citizenship judges across the country. Citizenship judges in local offices conduct hearings, make decisions on applications, preside over citizenship ceremonies, and administer the oath of citizenship. Judges also play a role in community outreach and promotion. The Citizenship Commission is led by the Senior Citizenship Judge who is responsible for ensuring that the judges perform their statutory and administrative duties and acts as the link between the judges, the Minister and CIC on citizenship issues.
1.2.5. Program resources
According to CIC financial data, the total expenditures for the Citizenship Awareness Program in 2011-12 was $4,130,807, representing approximately 11% of the resources for the Citizenship Program as a whole. This amount, however, does not include the resources dedicated to the program through CIC Communications Branch or the Citizenship Commission. The financial picture for the Citizenship Awareness Program is provided in more detail in section 3.2.6 on Resource Utilization.
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