Canada is once again opening its doors to future Canadians, albeit online. Since the COVID-19 pandemic became widespread, various sectors closed down to prioritize the health and safety of citizens. All citizenship tests, re-tests, hearings, and interviews were cancelled as early as March 14 this year. Citizenship ceremonies were put to a stop but they have gone on virtually. As of September 7, it was reported that around 85,000 people are waiting to take the test.
Over the next few months, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will be using a new platform that will hold online citizenship tests. Since these citizenship tests were cancelled eight months ago, the online one will be offered first to those with prior schedules that were not done due to the pandemic and those who are still in the waiting list, especially foreign grads.
Those invited to take the test will be notified through email. There is currently no news as to when in-person testing will resume. Requirement for the online test will include confirming your identity. ID documents and a photo of yourself through a webcam is also ideal. The test is estimated to take 20 minutes, containing 30 questions. The IRCC expects that the steps will be done within the 21-day period stipulated.
Since most interactions are done online, a good and stable internet connection will be necessary. A working device with a functioning webcam is the ideal gadget to take the test on. In an attempt to proctor, the webcam is set to take photos of the test taker throughout the session. This is also required for the verification process.
For the meantime, only individuals personally invited by the IRCC will be taking the test online. Once this proves to be successful, more people will be able to use their platform in 2021. The IRCC alluded to a significant amount of research and other developments done on modernizing the country’s citizenship programme, even before the pandemic. Prime Minister Trudeau announced then that under his leadership, he aims to welcome over 1.2 million new permanent residents in Canada for the next two years of his term.
To become Canadian citizens, citizenship applicants aged 18 to 54 must pass the test. A newcomer will be essentially allowed to vote and get their passport. Alongside these technicalities, this also gives the individual a sense of belongingness. While the pandemic is making it hard for in-person testing to happen, going online is the next best option, despite warnings from legal teams that the chances of people cheating the system in place will be more possible. There is no rush, though. Offering the test online is IRCC’s way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Canada.