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Canada Welcomes Over 354,000 New Citizens in 2023


March 6, 2024

Canada Welcomes Over 354,000 New Citizens in 2023

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) data reveals that over 354,000 individuals became Canadian citizens in 2023 through more than 3,000 citizenship ceremonies across the country. This marks a significant increase compared to 2022’s 375,413 and reflects a growing trend in naturalization over the past few years. For comparison, the number of new citizens in 2019 was 250,513, and it dropped to 110,989 in 2020 and 137,133 in 2021.

IRCC Tackles Citizenship Backlog

IRCC has been actively working to reduce the citizenship application backlog and has achieved its goal of processing 80% of applications within service standards. In January 2022, the backlog stood at 46%, but by November 2023, it had been reduced to 20%.

Here’s how IRCC achieved this progress:

  • Launched an online platform for the citizenship test
  • Introduced virtual citizenship ceremonies
  • Streamlined the application process with online options for most clients
  • Implemented an online application tracker to keep applicants informed
  • Increased staffing levels to expedite processing

Path to Canadian Citizenship

Individuals can become Canadian citizens after meeting specific eligibility criteria, including:

  • Permanent residency status in Canada
  • Tax filing (if applicable)
  • Passing the Canadian citizenship test (ages 18-54)
  • Meeting language proficiency requirements (ages 18-54)
  • Fulfilling physical presence requirements

To meet the physical presence requirement, applicants must be physically present in Canada for three years (1,095 days) out of the five years preceding their citizenship application. Specific rules apply to calculating time spent in Canada and as a temporary resident or protected person.

Benefits of Canadian Citizenship

Unlike permanent residents, Canadian citizens have no residency obligations and are entitled to:

  • Canadian passports
  • Voting rights in federal, provincial, and municipal elections
  • Enhanced job opportunities

Canadian citizenship can only be revoked in cases of fraud or misrepresentation.