ARCHIVED – Citizenship Commission – Office of the Senior Citizenship Judge – 2006–2007 Annual Report

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The Citizenship Commission

Letter to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada
The Honourable, Diane Finley, P.C., M.P.

The Honourable Diane Finley
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
365 Laurier Avenue West
21st Floor
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 1L1

Dear Minister Finley:

I am pleased to submit to you the Annual Report of the Citizenship Commission for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2007.

This Annual Report provides a summary of the context in which the Commission operated in 2006–2007, the initiatives that were undertaken, and the objectives we have established for 2007–2008.

Yours sincerely,

 

Michel C. Simard
Senior Citizenship Judge

Message from the Senior Citizenship Judge

Photo Judge SimardI am pleased to confirm that the Citizenship Commission has made progress and innovations in several areas over the fiscal year 2006–2007.

We are continuing our efforts to consolidate and harmonize file readiness and to aim at consistency in decision making, a process that has been ongoing for a number of years.

Our unceasing desire to be in the front line of the enhancement of citizenship ceremonies has also found an echo in foreign countries. A delegation from the Netherlands met with us in December 2006 to gain an understanding of the way we conduct our operations and to observe our citizenship ceremonies in a variety of settings. We have provided them with an accurate analysis that will enable them to benefit from our work and our experience. These partnerships are highly beneficial for the Citizenship Commission and Citizenship and Immigration Canada as a whole and I am confident that there will be other associations of this kind over the next few years.

The Citizenship Commission has realized a number of important organizational changes this year. Several new Citizenship Judges were appointed, a reorganization of the Senior Judge’s Office was completed and a budget framework was submitted to CIC. I feel that these changes will bring a new synergy to the Commission and allow for a better capacity to deal with existing challenges in the conduct of our mandate.

In conclusion, I find that the desire of my peers and staff to make the Citizenship Commission serve as a model of excellence in the performance of our quasi-judicial decision making and ambassadorial roles is very palpable. I am very enthusiastic about the coming year and very much hope that we can continue our consolidation and development projects, which will enable us to achieve an even wider impact. This report refers to a number of these projects.

Michel C. Simard

Complement of Citizenship Judges

The Senior Citizenship Judge leads a team of Citizenship Judges and office staff responsible for the effective management of the Citizenship Commission.

In 2006–2007, the complement of Citizenship Judges changed significantly with ten new appointments announced to fill some long-standing vacancies and to replace incumbents who were not reappointed. Listed below are the Citizenship Judges who served on the Commission during the 2006–2007 fiscal year.

Montréal, Québec
Judge Barbara Seal
Judge Gilbert Decoste*
Judge George Springate
Judge Gordana Caricevic-Rakovich

Ottawa, Ontario
Judge Suzanne Pinel
Judge Brian Coburn

Mississauga, Ontario
Judge Roberto Roberti
Judge Kris Mohan
Judge M. Saleem Akhtar
Judge Renata Brum Bozzi
Judge Mina Yung-Fung

Scarborough, Ontario
Judge Normand A. Allaire
Judge Philip M. Gaynor
Judge John K.S. Koulouras
Judge Peter Vecharelli*

Toronto (St. Clair) Ontario
Judge Sarkis Assadourian
Judge Agnes U. Potts
Judge Patricia Phenix
Judge Raminder Gill

Etobicoke, Ontario
Judge Ann L. Northcote

London, Ontario
Judge Dominic F. Mendes*

Hamilton, Ontario
Judge Robert M. Morrow

Windsor, Ontario
Judge Michael Walker*

Winnipeg, Manitoba
Judge Arthur K. Miki

Calgary, Alberta
Judge Patricia Gleason*
Judge Raymond Charles Lee

Edmonton, Alberta
Judge Sonia Bitar

Vancouver, British Columbia
Judge William Day
Judge Sandra Wilking
Judge Verya Radyo
Judge Brenda Brown
Judge Shinder P.S. Purewal

* Left the Commission before March 31, 2007

Overview

Mandate

The Citizenship Commission (Commission) is an administrative tribunal within Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). The Commission consists of all Citizenship Judges (Judges) working across Canada. Its mandate derives from the responsibilities conferred upon those Judges by the Citizenship Act and the Citizenship Regulations. Judges review approximately 180,000 citizenship applications each year.

Citizenship Judges are responsible for the following:

  • determining whether citizenship applicants meet the requirements of the Citizenship Act and the Citizenship Regulations;
  • administering the oath of citizenship and highlighting the importance rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship;
  • working to maintain the integrity of the citizenship process; and
  • promoting citizenship by working with school boards, service clubs, multicultural groups and other community organizations.

The Act specifies four types of citizenship applications: grant of citizenship S. 5(1); retention S. 8, renunciation S. 9(1); and resumption S. 11(1). The majority of applications are decided by Judges on the basis of a file review. However, when a Judge finds that more information is required to make a decision, the applicant is invited to attend a hearing before that Judge.

Senior Citizenship Judge

The Commission is headed by the Senior Citizenship Judge, who is first among equals. Reporting to Parliament through the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, the Senior Judge is the spokesperson for the Commission and in addition to performing the regular duties of a citizenship judge is assigned the following duties by the Minister pursuant to Section 26(2) of the Citizenship Act:

  • Provides professional and administrative leadership to the Commission to ensure that Judges discharge their statutory and administrative duties under the Citizenship Act.
  • Coordinates the activities of the Judges in the exercise of their quasi-judicial functions.
  • Collaborates with the Minister and departmental officials in order to facilitate the administration of the Citizenship Act with regard to the quasi-judicial and ceremonial functions performed by Judges and in matters relating to the promotion of citizenship.
  • Provides training for newly appointed Judges and ongoing professional development for all Judges.
  • Fosters collegiality and consistency amongst citizenship Judges by providing guidance, leading discussion, encouraging dialogue, preparing guidelines and information bulletins.
  • Responds to and manages complaints concerning the professional conduct of Judges.
  • Consults with responsible government authorities on all matters relating to conflict of interest and taking such measures as are necessary to ensure compliance with conflict of interest rules applicable to Judges.
  • Manages staff in the Senior Judge’s Office, developing the Commission’s business plan and administering the salary and operational budget.

Citizenship Judges

Appointment Process

Judges are appointed by the Governor in Council (GIC) on the recommendation of the Minister. Appointments may be made on a full-time or part-time basis usually for a three year term. Their status as GIC appointees affords Judges the independence they need to exercise their decision‑making function free from outside influence.

Decision Making Authority

Judges are, first and foremost, quasi‑judicial decision makers. Only Judges have the authority to decide citizenship applications. The Act does not allow CIC, or even the Minister, to exercise this power. While the Act gives Judges the power to decide all four types of citizenship applications, in practice, they make decisions only on applications for the grant of citizenship. For administrative efficiency, applications to retain, renounce and resume citizenship are decided by the Senior Citizenship Judge.

Accountability

Although Judges are not accountable to the Senior Judge, CIC or even the Minister for the decisions they render, this does not mean that they have no accountability. Their decisions can be appealed to the Federal Court of Canada by the applicant or by the Minister. Federal Court decisions help clarify the issues that Judges consider and also provide them with direction in interpreting the law.

Knowledge and Training

To perform their quasi‑judicial duties, Judges need to know the principles of administrative law and natural justice, the Citizenship Act and the Citizenship Regulations, the relevant case law, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Criminal Code.

Newly appointed Judges follow a comprehensive orientation training program that provides them with the knowledge and skills they require to perform their duties. After this program, Judges participate in on-going training activities to further develop their skills.

Roles and Responsibilities

While Judges spend approximately 80% of their time performing their decision‑making role, the public is much more aware of their ceremonial and ambassadorial roles.

Judges preside over citizenship ceremonies, during which they have the honour and privilege of welcoming new citizens into the Canadian family. It is at those ceremonies that Judges administer the Oath of Citizenship and speak to new citizens about the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. More importantly, it is here and at promotional events in the community that Judges pass on their pride, enthusiasm and respect for the institution of Canadian citizenship.

The stature of the position of Citizenship Judge stems in part from the fact that its three functions are mutually reinforcing. The authority of the quasi‑judicial function, the prominence of the ceremonial function and the commitment to Canada demonstrated in the promotion activities enhance one another and strengthen the office as a result.

Commission Standing Committees

The Commission operates two standing committees, the Legislation and Operations Standing Committee and the Standing Committee on Citizenship Promotion. These committees were established to address both the operational and promotional requirements of the Commission.

Standing Committee on Legislation and Operations

As its name indicates the Committee deals with the legislative and operational challenges of the Commission, to ensure that best practices contribute to the overall integrity and efficiency of the citizenship process.

The purpose of this Committee is to address legislative and operational challenges of the Commission and to ensure the sharing of best practices that contribute to the overall integrity and efficiency of the citizenship process.

These main business activities (within the context of the Commission and its relationship with citizenship stakeholders) are:

  • increasing integrity, consistency, coherence and efficiency in the delivery of citizenship services to clients across the country by identifying and implementing best practices;
  • increasing an understanding of the role and responsibilities of all people responsible for delivering the citizenship program;
  • finding workable solutions to issues raised with consideration of program integrity, operational needs and service delivery to clients;
  • making recommendations of mutual interest at the appropriate level when necessary.

The Legislation and Operations Committee addressed a number of ongoing issues of concern brought forward by the Judges with respect to administration of the Act and provided advice to the Senior Judge on the modernization of the citizenship process, citizenship testing, and age waivers.

Standing Committee on Citizenship Promotion

The purpose of this Committee is to address the promotional challenges of the Commission in the areas of communications, marketing and outreach initiatives that promulgates the importance of citizenship and its inherent responsibilities to stakeholders.

These activities include:

  • supporting the development of promotional opportunities that align with the national promotional objectives;
  • acting as a facilitator in organizing the steps necessary to plan and conduct promotional activities in various regions across Canada;
  • exploring opportunities to collaborate with portfolio partners in joint ventures where Judges can promote active citizenship;
  • coordinating the development of various tools required to conduct outreach activities.

The Committee was instrumental in plans for the celebration of the 60th anniversary of Canadian citizenship and in activities planned for Citizenship Week in October 2006. The Committee also contributed to the development of guidelines for Judges to have designated time for promotion activities incorporated into their work schedule.

Relationship with CIC

CIC is the Commission’s primary partner and provides the Commission with administrative, financial and human resources services. It also manages the process in which Judges perform their duties. CIC is a party to the decision‑making process by virtue of the right of appeal and the authority to grant citizenship, which it exercises on behalf of the Minister. While the Commission and CIC work closely at both the local and the national levels, they maintain an arms‑length relationship on decision‑making matters in order to ensure the independence of Judges.

Operating Context

The Environment

The 2006–2007 fiscal year can be described as a year in which the Commission strived to increase its profile within CIC as a valuable source of information and expert advice on the citizenship program. The Commission also continued its work to preserve the integrity of citizenship Judges as decision makers and their role in promoting the value of citizenship to Canadians and newcomers.

CIC announced as a priority, its intention to modernize the citizenship process. While the project remains in the planning stage, the new direction will certainly have an impact on the operations of the Commission. We were successful in ensuring that the Commission through the Senior Judge and the Legislation and Operations Committee will be consulted throughout the project. Through the Committee, Judges as front line practitioners will have an opportunity to provide their suggestions for improvements to the citizenship process and to comment on changes proposed by CIC.

The Commission’s top priority remained to achieve a full complement of Judges. Our target complement of Judges in 2006–2007 was 37 (24 full-time and 13 part-time). In April 2006 there were 24 Judges (13 full-time and 11 part-time) and 13 vacancies. By March 2007, the complement increased to 28 Judges (19 full-time; 9 part-time) and 9 vacancies. While the increase in the total number of Judges may not seem significant, the percentage of full-time appointees increased from 54% to 68% during the course of the 2006–2007 fiscal year.

Based on case load demands in certain regions, the target complement of Judges will be reassessed in the next fiscal year and will likely be increased.

Appointments and reappointments must be prompt in order for the citizenship process to function optimally. The Commission continues to urge the Government to address this important operational requirement. Delays in appointments impact the productivity of local offices, since Judges have sole authority to approve applications.

The Commission’s concern was and remains to ensure that the complement of Judges is sufficient to meet the operational requirements in each local office and to ensure that well-reasoned decisions are rendered in a timely fashion and in accordance with the law. This is essential to deal fairly and equitably with citizenship applicants wherever they may be.

Achievements

Mentorship Program

The Commission was faced with a situation where it had numerous newly appointed Judges and more anticipated by the end of the 2006–2007 fiscal year. With this trend expected to continue, the Senior Citizenship Judge required assistance in delivering mentorship services and training assessment programs directed to newly appointed Judges. In December 2006, the Commission received funding for a mentorship program and secured the contractual services of a former Citizenship Judge to serve as Special Advisor, Mentorship Program. Following the formal orientation training, the Special Advisor observes newly appointed Judges while they are performing their various duties and provides them with in situ verbal feedback about the efficacy of their techniques. A written feedback report is provided to the Senior Judge to assist in developing a plan for action where additional training is required. During the period of January to March 2007, four Judges participated in the program with positive feedback on the benefits of having one to one mentorship provided in the initial stage of their terms. The program will continue in the next fiscal year with the possibility of expansion offering the same mentoring services to established Judges during the course of their term and any subsequent reappointments.

Training and Professional Development

Orientation Training

New appointments permitted the Commission to implement a redesigned formal orientation training program. The intensive five day training session is delivered by an experienced former Citizenship Judge with presentations by CIC operations, policy and legal staff. New Judges are introduced to the legal requirements of citizenship, their decision-making role and their promotion role as ambassadors of Canadian citizenship. The effectiveness of the redesigned training program is evaluated following each session and further refinements are made on an ongoing basis.

The Commission would like to express its appreciation to CIC for its on-going participation in our training course. CIC presenters both clarify and highlight key elements of the citizenship process and the respective roles and responsibilities of local office staff and Judges.

Second Language Training

This program was implemented in 2003 to allow the Commission to fulfill its obligation pertaining to the Official Languages Act. The goal is to permit all Judges to acquire a sufficient level of ability and confidence to be able to administer the oath of citizenship in both official languages, and to incorporate and deliver some portions of remark at ceremonies and other public events, in the other official language.

Improved Management Practices

The Commission continued to further the management initiatives begun in 2005–2006. Following discussion with the Privy Council Office, a public complaints process was finalized. The Office of the Senior Judge developed several key policy documents for Judges including media and work schedule guidelines.

Annual Meeting

The Annual Meeting is the sole opportunity for Judges to meet as a group and provides an excellent forum for training and professional development. The 2006 Annual Meeting was held in Victoria. Judges participated in workshops on residency requirements, retention of citizenship and legal considerations regarding withdrawal versus rejection of a citizenship application. Feedback was positive on the benefit of having training incorporated into the annual meeting was positive, specifically the opportunity to learn from each other and discuss issues of concern.

Reorganization of the Office of the Senior Judge

In 2006–2007, the Commission was successful in securing the A-base funding required to conduct the Commission’s business (e.g. training and professional development, the mentorship program and the Annual Meeting). In addition, the position of Program Advisor was expanded to create and staff the position of Senior Advisor. The Commission also received funding to create two additional full-time positions, Supervisor, Administrative Services and Administrative Assistant. The creation of these three positions will increase our capacity to provide services to Judges including drafting policies and guidelines on relevant issues, organizing training for Judges and maintaining accurate financial tracking and reporting on budget administration.

Feedback Program

The implementation of the Commission’s feedback program on judge performance remains dependant upon the capacity of the Global Case Management System (GCMS) to provide needed data and ministerial approval of the appropriate level of funding. As such, the program will not be operational until the 2009–2010 fiscal year.

Promotional Activities

The Commission continued to promote and celebrate citizenship across Canada. Judges engaged in special ceremonies in the community and accepted speaking engagements in schools and at events sponsored by community and service organizations. All Judges are encouraged to submit quarterly reports of their promotion activities over and above their regular ceremonial duties.

The table below provides the summary of promotion events for 2006–2007. The statistics provided are based solely on the activities of the Judges who submitted promotion records and may not encompass all promotion activities undertaken by Judges.

Event Total Number Attendance Average Attendance
On and off-site special citizenship ceremonies 367 58,316 159
Reaffirmation ceremonies 9 2,670 297
Speaking events 49 12,178 249
Media 18 n/a n/a
TOTAL 443 63,164 143

In 2006–2007, Judges performed a total of 443 special education and promotional activities. This represents a significant increase from the 305 activities reported in the previous fiscal year and demonstrates the dedication of Judges to the promotion of citizenship. The highlights of the Commission’s promotional initiatives are further described below:

Enhanced Ceremonies

The Commission participated on a departmental Task Force on enhanced citizenship ceremonies. The Task Force was developed to provide a response from Judges on enhanced citizenship ceremonies. The goal of enhanced ceremonies is to make ceremonies more meaningful and interactive for new and established Canadians and to encourage the participation of communities in welcoming new Canadians.

60th Anniversary of Canadian Citizenship

2007 marks the 60th anniversary of Canadian Citizenship and the Commission participated wholeheartedly in events celebrating this achievement. The Commission provided a proposal to CIC to have a special citizenship ceremony at the Supreme Court of Canada. The proposal was accepted and on February 16, 2007, the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, welcomed 17 new Canadian families representing each province and territory in a special commemorative citizenship ceremony held at the Supreme Court of Canada. Also in attendance were Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, the Right Honourable Beverly McLachlin, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and Senior Citizenship Judge Michel Simard.

CBC

In 2005–2006, the Commission and CBC co-created a national web site on citizenship. The website has flourished and includes a photo gallery of swearing in ceremonies, facts about citizenship and personal stories about what citizenship means for both new and established Canadians. Throughout the year, CBC examines the significance and impact of immigration and citizenship to Canada’s culture and identity and is a valuable partner in the promotion of citizenship.

Throughout 2007, CBC will continue to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Canadian Citizenship by hosting a number of citizenship ceremonies. A photo gallery from the swearing in of 80 new Canadian citizens at the special anniversary ceremony held on February 22, 2007 in Vancouver may be viewed at www.cbc.ca/citizenship.

Community Citizenship Ceremonies

The Community Citizenship Ceremonies Initiative is the flagship program of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC). Over the next few years, the ICC will be working with Canadians across the country to create a network of local citizenship committees. The ICC anticipates that local committees will make citizenship ceremonies more personable and memorable while connecting new Canadians to their community as well as their country. Three local ICC Committees organized three pilot ceremonies in Toronto/St. James Town, Red Deer and Vancouver. Judges from these regions presided at the ceremonies and also participated in the round table discussion prior to the ceremonies. Participating Judges provided comments on what they believe worked in the ceremonies and round table discussion and how the program might be improved.

Citizenship Week 2006

Canada’s Citizenship Week is an annual event in October celebrating the value and pride of citizenship through special events and citizenship ceremonies in communities across the country. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration launched Citizenship Week on October 16, 2006 with a special citizenship ceremony to swear in 35 new Canadians. From October 16 to 22, 2006, hundreds of people became Canadian citizens and thousands of Canadians reaffirmed their commitment to Canada at citizenship ceremonies.

VI. Year in numbers

Like all federal departments and agencies, the Commission continues to operate in an environment of challenges and fiscal constraints. In order to fulfil its role in ensuring the integrity of the Citizenship process, the Commission must constantly maintain a delicate balance between sustaining and improving program service delivery, the active promotion of citizenship, and the judicious management of funds.

1. Summary of Citizenship Activities – 2006–2007

Total citizenship grant applications received. 208,937
Total citizenship grant applications processed 228,934
Number of new citizens 243,003
Number of unsuccessful applications: 4,386
Number of applications withdrawn or abandoned 6,214
Average processing time (in months) 10.3

2. New Citizens and Regional Distribution

Region Number
Atlantic 1,962
Quebec 30,461
Ontario 149,876
Prairies/NWT 22,588
British Columbia/Yukon 33,852
New Citizens Total 243,003

Note: Total includes new citizens produced by CPC-S & unspecified

3. Top Ten Source Countries of Birth of New Citizens

Country Number of New Citizens Percentage
1. India 32,052 13%
2. People’s Republic of China 30,199 12%
3. Pakistan 16,019 7%
4. Philippines 14,172 6%
5. Iran 7,212 3%
6. South Korea 6,816 3%
7. Romania 5,732 2%
8. Sri Lanka 5,608 2%
9. Jamaica 4,561 2%
10. United States of America 4,452 2%

Note: The top ten source countries represent 52% of all new citizens.

4. Citizenship Commission Activities

While the increase in the total number of Judges from 24 in 2005-2006 to 28 in 2006–2007 may not appear significant, the increase in the percentage of full-time appointments from 54% to 68% enabled a more equitable distribution of the workload. Our complement of 28 Judges (19 full time and 9 part‑time) performed the work 24 full-time equivalents (FTE).

Citizenship Judges

  • Number of Citizenship Judge positions: 28
  • Number of Full-Time Equivalents (FTE): 24
  • Number of Members of the Order of Canada conducting citizenship ceremonies: 27

The productivity of the full complement of Judges and the average output per FTE is presented in the following chart.

Activity National Total Average Output per FTE
Citizenship Applications
Total citizenship grant applications received 208,937[1]  
Total citizenship grant applications processed 228,934[2] 9,539
Number of new citizens 243,003 10,125
Number of unsuccessful applications 4,386 183
Number of applications withdrawn or abandoned 7,156 298
Ceremonies conducted 2,999 125
Citizenship Hearings
Hearings conducted[3] 19,923 830
Retention, Renunciation and Resumption
Retention
Applications received 762 N/A[4]
Applications for processing 1417  
Applications approved 578  
Applications not approved 3  
Administrative action required[5] 0  
Decisions pending 4  
Renunciation
Applications received 150 N/A
Applications processed 193  
Applications approved 84  
Applications not approved 0  
Decisions pending 0  
Resumption
Applications received 137 N/A
Applications processed 299  
Applications approved 106  
Applications not approved 0  
Administrative action required 0  
Decisions pending 2  
5(3) Waiver
Recommended 363  
Waiver granted 325  
Waiver not granted 38  
5(4) Waiver
Recommended 63  
Waiver granted 63  
Waiver not granted 0  
Appeals to Federal Court (Applicant)
Appeals filed 52  
Appeals resolved 46  
Appeals granted (includes consent) 10  
Appeals denied 26  
Appeals withdrawn by applicant 10  
Appeals to Federal Court (Minister)
Appeals filed 28  
Appeals resolved 12  
Appeals granted (includes consent) 8  
Appeals denied 1  
Appeal withdrawn 3  
Mandamus
Cases filed 6  
Cases resolved 11  
Cases granted (includes consent) 10  
Cases denied 1  
Cases withdrawn 0  
Certiorari[6]
Cases filed 8  
Cases resolved 2  
Cases granted (includes consent) 1  
Cases denied 1  
Cases withdrawn 0  
Civil Action
Cases filed 2  
Cases resolved 0  
Cases granted (includes consent) 0  
Cases denied 0  
Cases withdrawn 0  
Revocation
Cases filed 1  
Cases resolved 3  
Cases granted (includes consent) 2  
Cases denied 0  
Cases withdrawn 1  

Objectives for 2007–2008

The Commission will be taking on a number of initiatives in 2007–2008, as well as an extensive program of work to continue the fundamental improvements made in 2006–2007 both in the timely processing of cases brought to a Judge for decision and in the enhancement of our promotion role.

The Commission will also continue to increase its profile and contribution within CIC as a source of expert advice and guidance. Their insight and experiences are valuable in defining challenges and proposing strategies to enhance the integrity of citizenship process.

Complement of Judges

Our goal remains to achieve a full complement of Judges. It is crucial that there not only be a sufficient number of Judges overall but also that appointments be distributed to meet the requirements of regions where the case load warrants more than one Judge appointed in the local offices.

Modernization of the Citizenship Process

Modernization of the citizenship process will be a primary focus of CIC in the upcoming fiscal year. The purpose of the project is to identify means of increasing efficiency in all aspects of the citizenship process. The Commission has advised CIC that Members of the Legislation and Operations Committee are eager to participate in this process. Judges will be active partners in implementing the Minister’s direction regarding the modernization of the citizenship process and they have valuable insight to offer. Throughout the process, the Commission will strive to preserve the integrity of the Judge’s decision making role.

Citizenship Education and Testing

The Commission will offer its input to the initiative of the Citizenship Branch – Policy and Knowledge Development – to assess the appropriateness of current testing and educational materials for newcomers to Canada. Judges have identified program challenges in the area of citizenship testing and are available to offer short term and long term options for consultations regarding the purpose of and changes to the language and knowledge tests.

Professional Development

The Commission will continue to redesign and expand its orientation training and professional development programs for Judges. The benefits of the mentorship program will be assessed throughout the year with a view to expanding the program to include not only new appointees but “refresher” sessions for established Judges. Judges have uniformly requested additional training on effective decision-writing and this will be incorporated into our annual meetings.

Improved Management Practices

The Office of the Senior Judge will continue to issue guidelines to provide operational direction to Judges. The Federal Accountability Act (FAA) received Royal Assent on December 12, 2006. As part of the FAA a new Conflict of Interest Act (Act) will come into force in 2007 (date to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council) The Act will bring significant changes to guidelines on conflict of interest and political activity date. When the new Act comes into force, the Commission’s Supplementary Guidelines on Conflict of Interest will be revised accordingly. Additional matters to be addressed in the next fiscal year include direction to Judges on withdrawal of citizenship applications, promotion work schedules and knowledge of Canada oral testing.

Enhanced Citizenship Ceremonies

Judges will participate as integral partners in the enhanced citizenship ceremonies initiative while continuing promotion activities with school boards, community groups, service agencies and other partners in various regions.

My thanks

Whatever accomplishments and advancements we have made during the year under review, all are due mainly to the professional skills, dedication and teamwork of each of my Citizenship Judge colleagues and Commission staff.

I would like to publicly express my sincere appreciation and praise for what they have contributed, individually and collectively, to every area and stage of our legal, ceremonial, promotional and administrative activities.

__________________

1. Represents number of applications received by CPC Sydney in 2006–2007

2. Represents total number of applications processed in 2006–2007 – not all applications received are processed in the same year.

3. CIC advises that there are no reliable statistics available on the number of hearings resulting in approval or non-approval.

4. Breakdown by FTE is not applicable as all retention, resumption and renunciation cases are handled by the Senior Judge.

5. File requires additional documentation, revisions or returned for use of incorrect form.

6. An order of certiorari is given by a senior court to quash a decision of a lower court or other quasi-governmental organization

Date Modified: