Canadian Immigration News

First Nations, Inuit and Métis Now Recognized in Canada’s Oath of Citizenship

2.75 minute read
"Canada considers its Oath of Citizenship as a public declaration of belonging to the country and its community. To better reflect the diversity and history of Canada, the Canadian government is planning to update the Oath of Citizenship through Bill C-8 to include Indigenous Peoples. This is in direct response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Call to Action 94."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  Jul 23, 2021
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Canada considers its Oath of Citizenship as a public declaration of belonging to the country and its community. To better reflect the diversity and history of Canada, the Canadian government is planning to update the Oath of Citizenship through Bill C-8 to include Indigenous Peoples. This is in direct response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Call to Action 94. 

Why Is Updating the Canadian Oath of Citizenship Necessary?

Recently, the discovery of burial sites in areas around the Kamloops Residential School has been a stark reminder of the importance of the Call to Actions by the TRC. Canada’s Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino recently announced that Bill C-8 has been given a Royal Accent and it is now law. 

From June 21, 2021, Canada’s Oath of Citizenship will officially recognize First Nations, Inuit, and Metis and the obligation that all citizens must uphold the treaties between the Crown and the Indigenous nations. The new oath will recognize that Indigenous rights are enshrined in Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 and they are derived from the historic use of this land by the Indigenous peoples. This way, all new Canadian citizens will have to make a personal commitment to uphold the Aboriginal and Treaty rights of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples. 

What Is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission?

The TRC was officially established in 2008 to document the history and lasting impact of the Canadian Indian Residential School System on Indigenous students and their families. In 2015, the TRC released an Executive Report of its findings and 94 Call to Actions to promote reconciliation between Canadians and the Indigenous peoples. 

These Calls of Action apply to all levels of government, educational, religious institutions, and civil society groups to work together to address the lasting impact of residential schools on the Indigenous people. Currently, 80% of these Calls to Action are completed or well underway due to the efforts put together by the federal, provincial, and territorial governments.

Why Does Reconciliation Involve New Citizens?

Reconciliation is considered a national project, therefore, it also includes new citizens. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have been working for the past few years to implement several of TRC’s Call to Actions to do their role in educating newcomers about the history of Canada and their part in reconciliation.

What Has Been Done by the IRCC for the Reconciliation Project?

Recently, on June 14, the IRCC announced that Indigenous people will be able to reclaim their traditional names on their passports and other documents. This was in response to Call to Action 17. The IRCC is also working hard to update the Guide to Canadian citizenship to educate new citizens about the role of Indigenous people in Canada’s past, present, and future.

What Is the Updated Oath of Citizenship?

The updated Canadian Oath of Citizenship will include the following reference 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 fulfill my duties as a Canadian citizen.”

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