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17 October 2011

Proposed Citizenship Program Changes

Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism Minister, Jason Kenney is putting forward changes to the current assessment of language abilities for prospective citizens. The current system evaluates language ability by using a citizenship knowledge test and an interview with CIC staff. However, the current system proposes a major issue which is the significant time delay between the applicant’s submission and the corresponding hearing for language.

Minister Jason Kenney believes that changes to the system will call for better evidence on which citizenship judges could base their decision upon.  The two language skills that will be thoroughly examined in the new system are speaking and listening.  Applicants must be able to communicate in either English or French.

Adult applicants will need objective proof of language ability. The following evidence is accepted under the Citizenship Act:

  • the results of a third party test;
  • evidence of completion of secondary or post-secondary education in English or French; or
  • evidence of achieving CLB/NCLC 4 in certain government funded language training programs.

The new system will be aligned with the Canadian Language Benchmark/Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens, which represents basic fluent proficiency.

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