Citizenship ceremony in Canada features new oath; Minister Mendicino calls it a profound moment
The Oath of Citizenship in Canada now recognizes First Nations, Inuit, and Métis rights, and the obligation that all citizens have to uphold the treaties between the Crown and Indigenous nations. A Bill that was introduced in 2020 to amend the Citizenship Act to change Canada’s Oath of Citizenship, has received Royal Assent and is now law.
On June 22, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Marco Mendicino, issued a statement that read: “The new Oath of Citizenship recognizes that Indigenous rights are both enshrined in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and that they derive from Indigenous peoples’ presence on this land since time immemorial. A direct response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action 94, the new Oath is now law through Bill C-8, which received Royal Assent last night.”
Calling it “an important step on our shared journey of reconciliation”, the immigration minister, had earlier shared: “The new Oath will help new Canadians better understand the role of Indigenous peoples, the ongoing impact of colonialism and residential schools, and our collective obligation to uphold the treaties.”
First declarations of the new Oath
As Minister Mendicino joined new Canadians, who for the very first time, took the revised Oath of Citizenship that recognizes First Nations, Inuit, and Métis rights, he expressed, “It was a profound moment. With these new changes to our Oath of Citizenship, and June being National Indigenous History Month, I encourage all Canadians to learn about the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada, to acknowledge our history, and to support the important work of reconciliation.”
Do you know Canada’s new Oath of Citizenship?
The new language adds references to the Aboriginal and treaty rights of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples:
“I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada, including the Constitution, which recognizes and affirms the Aboriginal and treaty rights of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples, and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen.”
“The new language in Canada’s Oath of Citizenship is a concrete step forward on rebuilding relationships with Indigenous peoples as it responds to Call to Action 94 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It is so important that new Canadians understand the rights and significant contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis,” shared Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations.
Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services echoed the sentiment. “We all have a role to play on the path to reconciliation and by creating understanding and awareness of Indigenous issues, new Canadians and Indigenous peoples will take us closer to implementing the Calls to Action—inclusion and embracing cultures,” said Miller.
Addressing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Calls to Action
Over the past few years, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has been working to implement several of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Calls to Action and educate newcomers about their unique role in reconciliation.
Of the TRC Report’s 94 Calls to Action, 76 in total fall under the sole or shared responsibility of the Government of Canada.
On June 14, 2021, it was announced that Indigenous people can now reclaim their traditional names on passports and other documents, fulfilling Call to Action 17.
In response to Call to Action 93, the government is working at updating Canada’s Citizenship Guide to ensure new citizens understand the role of Indigenous peoples in the country’s past, present, and future.
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