(Ottawa) The new federal Minister of Immigration is still considering allowing new Canadian citizens to take the oath “with a single click”, but he does not plan to implement this controversial measure immediately, he said said Monday.
The government invited public feedback in February on the idea of allowing new Canadian citizens to take the oath of office with a simple mouse click online, avoiding the need to attend a ceremony virtual or in-person citizenship.
Consultation documents that were posted online by the government indicated that the new procedure was to come into force in June 2023, but Ottawa has said nothing about it since.
It’s because the department is still thinking about it, said Immigration Minister Marc Miller on Monday, who still thinks it’s a good idea.
“This decision should not be taken lightly, but we need technological options,” said Mr. Miller before going to question period.
“The ministry has been criticized, rightly, for not having adapted to the 21e century. This option is, in my opinion, one that we should preserve. »
According to Mr. Miller, this provision would be particularly useful for people who live in remote or rural communities, who would not have to travel long distances to take the oath.
Earlier this year, then-Immigration Minister Sean Fraser presented the idea as a temporary option to help clear the backlog of people waiting to obtain their citizenship.
The change is expected to save up to three months of processing time, according to government consultation documents.
Responses to this consultation offered mixed views on the idea: some called it a forward-thinking approach, while others thought it would downgrade the value of in-person ceremonies.
The ministry said in a statement Monday that the feedback “will inform next steps and the development of implementation plans.”
Mr. Miller recalled that he had been sworn in three times since he took charge of the immigration file during the cabinet reshuffle that took place this summer, and recognized that preserving an option to take the oath in person is “essential”.
The government expects attendance at in-person ceremonies to decline even further once the one-click oath option is introduced. So, there will likely be fewer ceremonies being held overall.
Conservatives have vowed to oppose the measure, fearing it would “debase” the citizenship oath.