COW - Citizenship Guide and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action 93 - June 10, 2021
The Government of Canada continues to work on the citizenship guide, associated study materials, and the new citizenship test.
Updates to the citizenship guide and test would respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Call to Action #93 to be more inclusive of the perspectives and history of the diverse Indigenous peoples of Canada.
My department engaged with a wide range of stakeholders, including Indigenous peoples, minority populations, women, Francophones, the LBGTQ2+ community, persons with disabilities, and academia.
At this time, a launch date for the revised guide has not yet been determined.
Our government and my department engaged extensively to develop possible revisions to the citizenship guide that would meaningfully advance Reconciliation by presenting histories, stories and perspectives of First Nations, Inuit and Métis.
This engagement has included national Indigenous organizations including the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Métis National Council, and Indigenous historians.
New test questions would accompany any changes to the guide. Together, the revised citizenship study guide and citizenship test will contribute to fostering Reconciliation and establishing greater understanding between newcomers, Indigenous peoples in Canada, and all Canadians.
New study materials will support the revised citizenship guide to assist teachers and self-directed learners. These tools would include educational videos, practice tests, activities, and materials for teachers in Settlement Organizations.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has also created a new Indigenous peoples resource sheet covering history, culture and reconciliation. The resource sheet will be used by settlement organizations for group information and orientation training for newcomers. This information is also part of the International Organization for Migration’s materials delivered to immigrants, including all resettled refugees coming to Canada, through the Canadian Orientation Abroad program.
Following Royal Assent, the revised Oath of Citizenship will be added to the guide and will help newcomers understand the importance of contributing to reconciliation, and respecting Indigenous peoples’ rights, history and perspective.
To better reflect Canada’s diversity in the guide, over 90 stakeholders from academia, settlement service providers, interest groups and communities also provided their voice to what should be included and how it should be treated.
The guide, in various iterations, has been shared with partners and stakeholders, internal and external to Government, over the past several years.
Recommendations expressed in relation to the current guide, Discover Canada, have included:
Increasing the diversity of stories and perspectives to include voices from Indigenous, Black, LGBTQ2, francophone minority, persons with disabilities, and other perspectives.
Providing narrative and clear language to reduce complexity of the subject matter.
Developing additional study materials to enhance accessibility for second language learners.
Presenting the social evolution of civic rights and freedoms to demonstrate the importance of active citizenship and being engaged in one’s community.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #93 asked the federal government, “…in collaboration with the national Aboriginal organizations, to revise the information kit for newcomers to Canada and its citizenship test to reflect a more inclusive history of the diverse Aboriginal peoples of Canada, including information about the Treaties and the history of residential schools.” Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has interpreted this to include the citizenship guide, the citizenship test and other reference material on Canada produced for citizenship applicants, newcomers and service provider organizations.
The current citizenship study guide, Discover Canada, was released in November 2009, with a minor revision in 2012. It replaced the 1995, A Look at Canada publication.
Updates to the current guide are needed to:
respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call to better reflect the perspectives and history of Indigenous peoples of Canada;
showcase Canada’s cultural diversity and commitment to official languages;
present the social evolution of civic rights and freedoms (e.g. LGBTQ2+, women, and persons with disabilities); and
enhance accessibility by writing at a language level better suited for second language learners, where possible, and structuring the content in a way that allows the client to easily identify the main points of each chapter.
To revise the guide, the Department engaged a wide range of experts since 2017 to produce a text that is reflective of Canadians and that accurately informs newcomers about our history, laws and their responsibilities as citizens.
The draft text was developed over months of extensive engagement with over 90 stakeholders from academia, settlement service providers, interest groups, communities as well as national Indigenous organizations and key citizenship partners such as the Institute for Canadian Citizenship and Historica Canada.
The Department worked with pedagogical experts to develop citizenship materials that will assist newcomers to learn about Canada and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, to better support their integration into Canadian society. This includes a partnership with Historica Canada for an education guide, videos, a citizenship ceremony toolkit for schools and communities. It also includes new materials to support second language learners and service providers.
New citizenship test questions would be developed to reflect the changes in content of the draft guide text, and the approach to acquiring knowledge of Canada.