Operational Bulletin 244B - February 25, 2011

Amendment to Operational Bulletin 244
 
Amendments to the Citizenship Regulations and Updated Guidelines Regarding the Citizenship Test

This document has expired. Please refer to the appropriate Program Delivery Instructions for current information.

Summary

Operational Bulletin (OB) 244 is amended to provide guidelines on ending the period of retesting and the return to mailing hearing notices two weeks prior to the hearing date.

Issue

The purpose of this OB is to provide an overview of the updated Citizenship Regulations which were published in the Canada Gazette on October 13, 2010. Updated procedures based on these new Regulations are effective as of October 14, 2010. This document also provides updated procedures on the citizenship test and our policy regarding retesting.

As of February 28, 2011, applicants who do not pass the citizenship test will no longer be retested. In addition, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will be returning to the practice of mailing hearing notices two weeks in advance of the hearing.

Background

The launch of the new citizenship study guide, Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship necessitated revision to the citizenship test to enable applicants to be tested on the new information contained in the study guide. Since March 15, 2010, an interim citizenship test based on the new study guide and existing Regulations has been in place. The citizenship test is no longer interim, it has been finalized as of October 14, 2010. A Regulatory amendment was required to enable a more complete assessment of an applicant’s knowledge of the contents of this new study guide and of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

New Regulations were signed by the Governor General on September 30, 2010, and were published in the Canada Gazette on October 13, 2010. Following these new Regulations, new procedures have been developed for the new citizenship test based on the amended Regulations and are effective as of October 14, 2010.

The new test, based on the new study guide, is part of overall efforts at CIC to strengthen the value of citizenship and to emphasize the integrity of the testing process. The citizenship test is also one of the tools used to assist in determining whether an applicant has an adequate knowledge of English or French.

Section 15 of the Citizenship Regulations outlines the criteria to be used in determining whether or not an applicant demonstrates an adequate knowledge of Canada and of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship.

Updated Regulations

On September 30, 2010, regulatory amendments came into force that required applicants to successfully demonstrate a broad knowledge of Canada and of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship. In essence, these updated Regulations allow CIC the flexibility to test applicants on a greater variety of topics included in Discover Canada and provides flexibility in the development of future questions.

With the coming into force of these new regulations, applicants are considered to have an adequate knowledge of Canada if they demonstrate that they know the national symbols of Canada and have a general understanding of the following subjects:

  • the chief characteristics of Canadian political and military history;
  • the chief characteristics of Canadian social and cultural history;
  • the chief characteristics of Canadian physical and political geography;
  • the chief characteristics of the Canadian system of government as a constitutional monarchy; and
  • the characteristics of Canada, other than those referred to above.

Also, applicants are considered to have an adequate knowledge of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship if they demonstrate they have a general understanding of the following subjects:

  • participation in the Canadian democratic process;
  • participation in Canadian society, including volunteerism, respect for the environment and the protection of Canada’s natural, cultural and architectural heritage;
  • respect for the rights, freedoms and obligations set out in the laws governing Canada; and
  • any of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship other than those referred to above.

These regulatory changes promote an enhanced understanding of Canadian identity and values and of the responsibilities of citizenship.

Mandatory questions no longer in effect

Previously, the citizenship test contained certain mandatory questions which needed to be answered correctly by applicants in order to pass the test. The three mandatory questions tested applicants on the following:

  • The right to vote
  • The right to run for elected office
  • Voting procedures related to elections

However, because section 15 of the Citizenship Regulations now specifies that applicants are required to have sufficient knowledge of a broad range of topics, the inclusion of mandatory questions in the citizenship test is no longer in effect since October 14, 2010.

Administering the citizenship test

Local offices are to continue administering the citizenship test as per current procedure. However, because all the questions on the citizenship test will now be of equal value, all applicants who receive a grade of 15 questions out of 20 or higher on the citizenship test will pass. However, it is still the citizenship judge who makes a decision on the application.

Applicants will continue to be given 30 minutes in order to complete the test.

Distribution of the citizenship test to local offices

On September 21, 2010, a new and more efficient process for the distribution of updated citizenship tests from NHQ to local offices was announced. Local offices will now receive an updated version of the citizenship test by secure e-mail including the correction sheet. Local offices should have a contact as well as a back-up staff member to receive updated tests.

Retesting policy

With the implementation of the interim citizenship test in March 2010, several transition measures were introduced in order to ensure the shift was as smooth as possible. One of these measures was the retesting policy. This measure was temporary and was introduced in order to minimize the number of hearings during the transition period while the new citizenship knowledge test, based on Discover Canada, was being refined.

Note: Only clients who failed the written test and who were not flagged for other issues (i.e., language, residence, criminality, etc.) were scheduled to write the test a second time before being referred for a hearing with a citizenship judge.

As of February 28, 2011, there will no longer be retesting for applicants who fail their first attempt at writing the citizenship knowledge test. The following guidelines should be followed:

  • Applicants, who fail the written test before February 28, will be retested.
  • Applicants, who fail the written test on or after February 28, will not be retested.

Note: In order not to extend the retesting period indefinitely, efforts should be made to ensure that applicants who benefited from a retest prior to February 28, 2011, are retested as soon as operationally feasible once the two months have elapsed between the first and second test.

Local offices were advised on August 17, 2010, to resume sending test notices to applicants a minimum of 14 days before the date of the event. This policy remains in effect.

Hearing notices

Effective February 28, 2011, local offices are to return to mailing hearing notices two weeks in advance. For those offices that have already scheduled hearings and printed client notices, you can:

  • Proceed as scheduled with the hearing and mail the notices already printed; or
  • Reschedule the hearing and reprint the notices.

Attachments

Annex ARewriting Citizenship Test

A copy of the attached Rewritting Citizenship Test Notice (Annex A) must be mailed with each Notice to Appear for a Citizenship Test when it is a second test appearance. The previous Rewriting Notice must no longer be used.

Annex B – Language Assessment Notices

In early September 2010, CIC offices began including an annex to the citizenship test and hearing notices informing applicants as to how their language ability will be assessed. Minor corrections have been made to this annex and the new annex found in Annex B must be included with all test and hearing notices.

Annex C – Acknowledgement Letter

Furthermore, as of September 20, 2010, CPC Sydney has been including a similar annex to grant acknowledgement letters. Minor corrections have also been made to this annex (Annex C) and it must be attached to all grant acknowledgement letters.

Annex DTest and Hearing Notice Referring to Discover Canada

This annex is no longer in use.


>Annex A

NOTICE — Rewriting Citizenship Test

This is to inform you that you failed your citizenship test and you have been scheduled to appear for another citizenship test.

You will have a second opportunity to demonstrate that you know the national symbols of Canada and have a general understanding of the following subjects:

  • the chief characteristics of Canadian political and military history;
  • the chiefcharacteristics of Canadian social and cultural history;
  • the chief characteristics of Canadian physical and political geography; and
  • the chief characteristics of the Canadian system of government as a constitutional monarchy
  • characteristics of Canada, other than those referred to above

You will also have to demonstrate that you an adequate knowledge of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship, which you can do by having a general understanding of the following subjects:

  • participation in the Canadian democratic process;
  • participation in Canadian society, including volunteerism, respect for the environment and the protection of Canada’s natural, cultural and architectural heritage; and
  • respect for the rights, freedoms and obligations set out in the laws governing Canada; and
  • any of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship other than those referred to above

If you fail the test, you will receive a notice by mail indicating the date and time of your oral interview with a citizenship judge.

The knowledge questions will be based on the content from the study guide entitled Discover Canada.

If you have any questions, please contact the Call Centre at 1-888-242-2100.

Your language abilities

The citizenship knowledge test as well as your interaction with Citizenship and Immigration Canada staff will be relied on in assessing whether you have an adequate ability to communicate in either English or French.

The criteria used to assess whether you have an adequate knowledge of either English or French is based on your ability to understand basic spoken statements and questions, and your ability to communicate basic information, or answers in response to these questions.

For example, as part of your interaction with departmental staff, your written test, and/or your interview with citizenship judge, you will be expected to:

  • Answer simple questions on familiar topics using short sentences
  • Demonstrate adequate vocabulary for basic everyday communication
  • Tell a simple story about everyday activities
  • Speak about something you did in the past (or will do in the future)
  • Demonstrate understanding of factual details
  • Give simple everyday instructions and directions
  • Express satisfaction or dissatisfaction

Your ability to meet the language requirement will be assessed based on whether you understand the statements and questions asked, and your ability to communicate your answers in response.


Annex B — Attachment to test and hearing notices

NOTICE

Your language abilities

The citizenship knowledge test as well as your interaction with Citizenship and Immigration Canada staff will be relied on in assessing whether you have an adequate ability to communicate in either English or French.

The criteria used to assess whether you have an adequate knowledge of either English or French is based on your ability to understand basic spoken statements and questions, and your ability to communicate basic information, or answers in response to these questions.

For example, as part of your interaction with departmental staff, your written test, and/or your interview with citizenship judge, you will be expected to:

  • Answer simple questions on familiar topics using short sentences
  • Demonstrate adequate vocabulary for basic everyday communication
  • Tell a simple story about everyday activities
  • Speak about something you did in the past (or will do in the future)
  • Demonstrate understanding of factual details
  • Give simple everyday instructions and directions
  • Express satisfaction or dissatisfaction

Your ability to meet the language requirement will be assessed based on whether you understand the statements and questions asked, and your ability to communicate your answers in response.


Annex C – Attachment to grant acknowledgement letter

NOTICE

Your language abilities

The citizenship knowledge test as well as your interaction with Citizenship and Immigration Canada staff will be relied on in assessing whether you have an adequate ability to communicate in either English or French.

The criteria used to assess whether you have an adequate knowledge of either English or French is based on your ability to understand basic spoken statements and questions, and your ability to communicate basic information, or answers in response to these questions.

For example, as part of your interaction with departmental staff, your written test, and/or your interview with a citizenship judge, you will be expected to:

  • Answer simple questions on familiar topics using short sentences
  • Demonstrate adequate vocabulary for basic everyday communication
  • Tell a simple story about everyday activities
  • Speak about something you did in the past (or will do in the future)
  • Demonstrate understanding of factual details
  • Give simple everyday instructions and directions
  • Express satisfaction or dissatisfaction

Annex D – Test and Hearing Notice (Discover Canada)

THIS ATTACHMENT NO LONGER IN EFFECT

HEARING NOTICES

IMPORTANT NOTICE

Please note that the citizenship test questions to determine if you have an adequate knowledge of Canada and of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship will be based on the content of the new study guide entitled Discover Canada: the Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship. You must correctly answer enough questions to achieve a passing mark.

In addition, in order to pass the test, you must also correctly answer questions about the following topics:

  • the right to vote in elections in Canada;
  • the right to run for elected office in Canada; and
  • voting procedures and how to register yourself as a voter.

If you do not have a copy of the new study guide, you can view it on-line or download it at www.cic.gc.ca, or call the call centre at 1-888-242-2100 to have a copy mailed to you.

IMPORTANT NOTICE

Please note that the questions asked by the citizenship judge to determine if you have an adequate knowledge of Canada and of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship will be based on the content of the new study guide entitled Discover Canada: the Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship. You must correctly answer enough questions to achieve a passing mark.

In addition, in order to pass the test, you must also correctly answer questions about the following topics:

  • the right to vote in elections in Canada;
  • the right to run for elected office in Canada; and
  • voting procedures and how to register yourself as a voter.

If you do not have a copy of the new study guide, you can view it on-line or download it at www.cic.gc.ca, or call the call centre at 1-888-242-2100 to have a copy mailed to you.

Date Modified: