How to Host a Citizenship Ceremony

This informative video advises how to plan and host a citizenship ceremony, step-by-step.

How to Host a Citizenship Ceremony

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Transcript: “How to Host a Citizenship Ceremony”

Video length: 11:10 minutes

Man appears on screen. Text on screen reads: New Canadian – Raul Alos Torres.

Raul Alos Torres: I decided that this is the place that I wanted to stay for sure with my family.

A second man appears on screen. Text on screen reads: New Canadian – Catalin Sandolache.

Catalin Sandolache: Now I am officially a Canadian citizen, oh my God!

A woman appears on screen. Text on screen reads: New Canadian – Thelma Louise Jackson.

Thelma Louise Jackson: I’m filled with joy. In my soul I am very happy … Being a Canadian in my life I promise that I will love Canada no matter what. I even forget my country … I grip hold of Canada.

A waving Canadian flag appears on screen. Background music begins. Text on screen reads: HOW TO HOST A CITIZENSHIP CEREMONY. Background music fades.

Images of people participating in a citizenship ceremony appear on screen: people shaking hands, people waving flags, people obtaining their citizenship and posing for photographs.

Narrator: The citizenship ceremony is an important rite of passage for new Canadians. For many, it is the start of a new commitment, a new loyalty to their new country, leaving old allegiances behind. For the community, it’s an opportunity to welcome new citizens and hear them express their loyalty.

Man appears on screen. Text on screen reads: New Canadian – John Sylvan.

John Sylvan: The generation of pioneers that were before us laid that part. And the most important thing was during the speeches, the covenant created between me and Canada. That’s the most beautiful thing, which we stand by.

Images of people participating in a citizenship ceremony appear on screen: people registering at a citizenship ceremony, people filling out and signing forms, people visiting and greeting each other at reception following an official ceremony.

Narrator: Citizenship and Immigration Canada—or CIC—works closely with community groups across Canada to support their involvement in hosting citizenship ceremonies. This video will show you how to plan and host a citizenship ceremony, step-by-step.

Background music gets louder. A waving Canadian flag appears on screen. Text on screen reads: CITIZENSHIP CEREMONY—THE BASICS.

Narrator: Let’s start with the basics. Here’s what you need to know about hosting a citizenship ceremony.

Images of people participating in a citizenship ceremony appear on screen: people participating in the Oath of Citizenship.

Background music fades and sound of new Canadian taking the oath is heard.

Narrator: The citizenship oath is a solemn declaration in which citizenship candidates promise to be loyal to the Queen of Canada and to observe Canadian laws while fulfilling their duties and responsibilities as Canadian citizens.

Narrator: As each new Canadian is welcomed into our rich and diverse family, the reward lies in moments like these…

Images of new Canadians being called up to accept Citizenship appears on screen, people shaking hands, people receiving pins and flags.

Man appears on screen.

Catalin Sandolache: Family is important to me. Family is one of the most important values for Canadians. And, family is something that not most of the nations value. Canada values family. Everything is made for family in Canada, and I think this is a great value because Canada is one of the best countries in the world.

Screen fades to black. Text appears in screen reads: WHO IS INVOLVED?

Narrator: Who is involved? The citizenship candidates are central to the day—and the most important people at the event.

Images on screen: New Canadians attending citizenship ceremonies.

Narrator: CIC takes care of contacting them and creating the invitation list, while your group manages the logistics.

Images on screen: Employee on the phone working in an office; a meeting taking place at a table with three people.

Narrator: You can also count on others to participate, like family and friends of the candidates and other special guests.

Images on screen: Guests attending citizenship ceremony; an RCMP officer; military men.

Narrator: As the organizer, CIC will identify a presiding official and possibly a master of ceremonies.

Images on screen: Citizenship judges presiding over ceremonies; RCMP member standing on guard.

Narrator: The presiding official is usually a citizenship judge, member of the Order of Canada, Order of Military Merit or recipient of the Royal Victorian Order who administers the Oath of Canadian Citizenship, presents Canadian citizenship certificates and delivers remarks about the importance of citizenship.

Images on screen: Guest filming the citizenship ceremony; guest speakers addressing audience; RCMP and military members.

Narrator: The master of ceremonies welcomes guests and introduces speakers and special guests. CIC may also invite an RCMP officer, a member of the Canadian Forces or a veteran to participate in the ceremony. Media may also be in attendance.

Background music gets louder again. Image of Canadian flag appears on screen, blurs and text on screen reads: WHO IS INVOLVED?

  • Citizenship candidates
  • Families, friends, special guests
  • Presiding officials
  • Master of ceremonies

Screen fades to black. Text on screen reads: WHEN?

Narrator: When should you hold the ceremony? Usually, ceremonies are held on weekdays, during normal business hours.

Scene on the screen blurs. Text on screen reads: WHEN?

  • Weekdays
  • Normal business hours

Screen fades to black. Text on screen reads: WHERE?

Narrator: Where should you host the ceremony? You can hold it at the local Citizenship and Immigration office or choose a location in the community.

Images on screen: Woman walking into a CIC office building; large room full of people attending citizenship ceremony.

Narrator: It can be places like art galleries, museums, historic sites, schools, universities, libraries and community centres.

Images on screen: People walking around museum; people walking around a historical site.

Scene on the screen blurs. Text on screen reads: WHERE?

  • Local CIC office
  • Location in the community

A waving Canadian flag appears on screen. Text on screen reads: PLANNING THE EVENT

Narrator: Let’s go over the finer points of planning the citizenship ceremony. Here’s what you and your group need to know.

Screen fades to black. Text on screen reads: STEP 1: 2-3 MONTHS BEFORE

Narrator: Step One. Have you contacted CIC yet to advise them that you would like to host a ceremony?

Text on screen reads: 2-3 MONTHS BEFORE

  • Contact CIC

Narrator: If not, be sure to reach out AT LEAST 2 to 3 months before the big day. The sooner you can ask us, the better. CIC will confirm whether your request can be supported after considering logistics and available resources. The date will be confirmed after that.

Images on screen: Woman working on computer at desk; screen capture of email from CIC; another woman on the phone in an office.

Narrator: Let CIC know where you would like to host the ceremony. We will confirm the date with you. Schedule a planning meeting with CIC staff to discuss the number of people expected, special guests to be invited and other important details.

Text on screen reads: 2-3 MONTHS BEFORE

  • Contact CIC
  • Find the location
  • Confirm the date
  • Schedule a planning meeting

Image on screen: Two women at a meeting in a boardroom.

Text on screen reads: STEP 2: 4-6 WEEKS BEFORE

Narrator: Step two. Four to six weeks before the ceremony, determine your requirements and establish a budget to cover the costs.

Text on screen reads: 4-6 WEEKS BEFORE

  • Establish a budget
  • Plan the site layout

Narrator: Plan the site layout, including where you’ll place the stage, chairs and so on. Prepare a space for your reception area.

Image on screen: Woman in office on the phone.

Narrator: CIC will ensure there are ceremonial flags and a dignified portrait of the Queen, a visible reminder that the Oath of Citizenship is a mutual pledge between the citizen and the Queen.

Image on screen: Citizenship judge addressing crowd at citizenship ceremony.

Text on screen reads: 4-6 WEEKS BEFORE

  • Establish a budget
  • Plan the site layout
  • CIC will ensure there is a dignified portrait of the Queen

Narrator: CIC officials will create a guest list and extend invitations to all guests.

Image on screen: Man and woman attending a meeting in an office.

Narrator: Consider food and refreshments for the reception. Consider having a local business sponsoring the reception. CIC does not provide funding for these extras. You can recruit volunteers to plan and staff the citizenship ceremony.

Image on screen: Table with a variety of refreshments.

Text on screen reads: 4-6 WEEKS BEFORE

  • Establish a budget
  • Plan the site layout
  • CIC will ensure there is a dignified portrait of the Queen
  • Recruit volunteers

Narrator: They can help organize the event, including catering, work the reception, greet the guests and clean up. Whenever possible, be sure to include at least one bilingual volunteer on your team.

Image on screen: Woman talking with other people; a group meeting taking place in a boardroom.

Text on screen reads: 4-6 WEEKS BEFORE

  • Establish a budget
  • Plan the site layout
  • CIC will ensure there is a dignified portrait of the Queen
  • Recruit volunteers
  • Include a bilingual volunteer

Woman appears on screen. Text on screen reads: Teresita Buena, Citizenship Ceremony Host

Teresita Buena: “We try to get more volunteers. We have to have around 6 volunteers to help us in the preparations. We have to have our supplies ready, like coffee, tea and cookies for everybody.”

Narrator: Step 3. The countdown is on.

Text on screen reads: STEP 3: 2-3 WEEKS BEFORE

Narrator: With 2 to 3 weeks remaining before the ceremony, here’s what you need to do. Liaise with CIC staff on the final details.

Text on screen reads: 2-3 WEEKS BEFORE

  • Liaise with CIC

Image on screen: Two women in an office organizing papers.

Narrator: CIC will prepare the program and have it translated.

Narrator: Confirm your plans for the reception.

Text on screen reads: 2-3 WEEKS BEFORE

  • Liaise with CIC
  • Confirm reception plans

Narrator: It’s often easiest to keep it simple. Most groups serve tea, coffee and juice with cakes, cookies or light snacks. Remember to plan for dietary restrictions and label any foods with nuts.

Image on screen: Women in a kitchen preparing refreshments.

Text on screen reads: 2-3 WEEKS BEFORE

  • Liaise with CIC
  • Confirm reception plans
  • Consider dietary restrictions
  • Label foods with nuts

Narrator: Promote the ceremony to the media if you would like coverage of the event.

Text on screen reads: 2-3 WEEKS BEFORE

  • Liaise with CIC
  • Confirm reception plans
  • Consider dietary restrictions
  • Label foods with nuts
  • Contact the media
  • Review speeches

Narrator: Keep your remarks brief. This is not your day but theirs. The appropriate comportment for one hosting a citizenship ceremony is dignified and formal but not overly officious or self-important.

Narrator: Step 4. We’re now just days away.

Text on screen reads: STEP 4: 2-3 DAYS BEFORE

Narrator: It’s time to… brief volunteers and assign their duties. Re-confirm all details for the reception.

Text on screen reads: 2-3 DAYS BEFORE

  • Brief volunteers
  • Finalize reception plans

Narrator: CIC officials will bring Canadian flags, Maple Leaf pins, the program and other items for the new citizens with them to the ceremony.

Image on screen: Stack of Canadian flags and pile of Maple leaf pins; man laying program on chairs.

Narrator: Step 5. It’s now the day of the citizenship ceremony.

Text on screen reads: STEP 5: DAY OF THE CEREMONY

Narrator: Be sure to arrive well in advance. Check that everything at the site is in order.

Image on screen: Man closes curtains in large room; man putting a pitcher of water on a table.

Narrator: Brief your volunteers and set up for the reception. Set up the location and make sure the sound and lighting systems work.

Text on screen reads: DAY OF THE CEREMONY

  • Brief volunteers
  • Set up for the reception
  • Check sound and lighting

Narrator: As the soon-to-be citizens and other guests arrive and register, welcome them. Greet the media. Find out how you can help them set up or find interview subjects.

Image on screen: Guests arriving at citizenship ceremony.

Text on screen reads: DAY OF THE CEREMONY

  • Brief volunteers
  • Set up for the reception
  • Check sound and lighting
  • Greet guests
  • Support the media

Narrator: Ensure everyone is seated on time and ready for the moment they have been waiting for…

Image on screen: People being seated and arriving at citizenship ceremony.

Narrator: Step 6. After the ceremony, it’s time for celebration.

Text on screen reads: STEP 6: AFTER THE CEREMONY

Narrator: The reception serves as a special way to bring new Canadians together and celebrate what each individual has achieved on their journey to becoming a Canadian.

Image on screen: Guests at reception eating, talking and laughing.

Raul Alos Torres: I was welcomed. If I ever go out I say “I’m going back home,” not “where I was born.” I felt, deep in my heart, this is where I belong. Canada.

Image on screen: Raul Alos Torres and family member walking outside.

Woman appears on screen.

Thelma Louise Jackson: Canada needs you. I said I need Canada too. I felt you know when I sit down there … it’s as if a white piece of cloth just came right around me. And I know it was the Angel of God that was there at the present time! … I was not scared at all. He said “You are fully accepted in Canada. Have a good time.” I dropped my knees on the ground and I said “Thank you God!”

Image on screen: Thelma Louise Jackson with family at citizenship ceremony.

Narrator: Now that the day is done, it’s time to do the final clean up and reflect on what you’ve accomplished.

Image on screen: Volunteers cleaning up after the reception.

Narrator: If you or your group would like to touch the lives of new Canadians, visit CIC’s website for complete information on planning and hosting a citizenship ceremony.

Text on screen reads: FOR MORE INFORMATION: cic.gc.ca/ceremony

Narrator: You’ll find guidelines, a sample event program and important do’s and don’ts to help you plan a day that’s special—from start to finish.

Images on screen: People standing, singing and waving Canada flags at citizenship ceremony.

O Canada begins to play. Images appear on screen of people singing along and waving a Canada flag. As the song ends, the sound of people clapping can be heard.

Screen fades to black. Citizenship and Immigration logo appears.

The Canada wordmark appears.

The video fades to black.

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