New Digital Citizenship Oath Proposal Piques Interest in Canada

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In a recently proposed innovation, the Immigration Minister contemplates enabling new Canadians to pledge their oath of citizenship digitally. There is, however, no immediate scheme to set this new approach in motion.

Following public consultations initiated in February, the government had considered the possibility of letting new citizens bypass in-person or virtual ceremonies and, instead, take their oath with a mere mouse click. These potential regulations were expected to come into force around June 2023, yet official announcements regarding the plans have been scarce.

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“The department has been criticized, rightly, for not being adjusted to the 21st century, and this option is one I think we should preserve,” Immigration Minister Marc Miller argued, emphasizing the importance of tech-savvy solutions, yet maintaining the gravity of such memorable moments.

For residents of rural or remote regions, he stressed, making long journeys to recite their oath in person should not be obligatory. Additionally, the shift could expedite the process by saving up to three months, minimizing backlogs of people awaiting their citizenship.

Nonetheless, the public feedback collected presented diverse views. Some lauded it as a forward-thinking measure while others feared it might diminish the worth of in-person ceremonies. Miller agreed, remarking the significance of personal appearance at such ceremonies but also acknowledging the value of virtual conveniences when citizenship and loyalty were indisputable.

Miller also suggested that despite implementing a digital option, safeguarding the traditional, in-person ceremony would be “paramount”. He suspects that physical attendance may likely dwindle once the one-click alternative is launched, resulting in fewer ceremonies overall.

During the pandemic, virtual ceremonies had been introduced for taking the oath—a practice that has sustained. Even so, by July 23, there were 68,287 applications still pending, with applicants eagerly waiting to relish the privileges of Canadian citizenship.

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