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Thursday, November 05, 2015

Canada Visa - CIC Issues Instructions to Allow for Religious Accommodation During Canadian Citizenship Oath

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has updated instructions related to the taking of the Oath of Citizenship as a result of a recent decision by the Federal Court of Appeal.
The published instructions state:
Following the recent decision of the Federal Court of Appeal in Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada v. Ishaq, operational instructions  related to the delivery of the Oath of Citizenship have been updated.
The operational policy requires applicants to remove their face covering when taking the Oath, but applicants who are unwilling to do so for  religious reasons must now be accommodated and allowed to recite the Oath of Citizenship privately, in front of a female judge or official who is  authorized to administer the Oath, before joining the public ceremony.
In mid-September, the Federal Court of Appeal had dismissed a government appeal over a ban on face coverings at citizenship ceremonies in what amounted to a major policy rebuke of the previous Conservative government, led by now former-Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
The issue of face coverings while taking the Oath of Citizenship became a major point of contention during the recent Canadian federal election campaign, with the major opposition parties opposing the previous government’s stance on the issue.

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