The Canadian government is considering changes to the language testing rules for new immigrants applying for Canadian citizenship in order to streamline the process and ensure that newcomers are proficient in one of Canada’s two official languages before they arrive in Canada.
“The ability to communicate effectively in either French of English is key to the success of new citizens in Canada,” said Jason Kenney, current Immigration Minister. “This change will encourage applicants to ensure that they can speak English or French when they apply for citizenship, thereby improving the integrity and effectiveness of the citizenship program.”
The changes would affect approximately 134,000 applicants each year in sponsorship, refugee and economic streams. Currently, applicants only need to provide results of a written multiple-choice exam, which government officials do not believe is an adequate indication of ability. If an officer is not satisfied with the results, they have to conduct an interview, which is inefficient and leads to processing delays, say representatives from the government.
Critics, however, argue that the changes are not necessary, particularly in reunification and refugee cases where admission is based on compassion and humanitarian concerns, rather than simply on a person’s ability to contribute financially. They also say that the citizenship test itself provides an adequate indication of language ability.
Sources: Victoria Times Colonist
Globe and Mail