The federal government of Canada has agreed that its citizenship test needs an update to make it more relevant to today’s citizenship seekers and they are looking into the private sector for assistance.
Immigration lawyer Hadayt Nazami says the test is long overdue for an overhaul. “It’s not about it being easy or difficult, it’s about it being relevant to today’s circumstances,” he said. “But also being more relevant to what Canada is today and what Canada represents today.”
Nazami also said that the current test over-emphasizes the positive aspects of Canada’s past and present and that the language barrier is a problem some immigrants face.
Last December 5, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) sent a request for proposal to the private sector for assistance to “develop a pool of (400) multiple choice official questions, a test blueprint, and 15 versions of the Canadian citizenship knowledge test.” Any proposals from contractors for this one-year term will be accepted until mid-January.
Since the citizenship test is up for revision, the study guide for the test is also under review. The Liberal government is working internally to update the study guide, and it isn’t finished yet. As the request for proposal stated that the new citizenship test “will need to be updated to reflect the new version” of the study guide, it is not yet clear when the new citizenship test is targeted to be released.
“As we have done in the past, we will partner with testing experts to ensure that the test reflects the content presented in the completed study guide,” wrote department spokesperson Remi Larivière in an email. “This will support the success of our clients while ensuring they obtain and demonstrate the knowledge required for citizenship,” Larivière added.
Last July, a draft of the study guide was obtained by the Canadian Press but unfortunately, it sparked controversy. The following are some of the controversial contents in the draft:
- The mention that some “barbaric cultural practices” such as female genital mutilation and honour killings are crimes in Canada.
- Past discrimination against the Chinese people, South Asians, Jews and disabled Canadian
- Details about the evolution of LGBTQ rights in Canada
- History and present lives of the Canada’s Indigenous Peoples
Other than the citizenship test, the other aspects of the citizenship process is expected to remain the same. Hopefuls must still prove their knowledge about Canada’s history, demographics, geography, politics and others. Also, applicants must still get at least 15 out of the 20 test questions correctly.
Applicants will have two chances to pass the written test. If they fail twice, they will meet face-to-face with an immigration official who will assess if they meet requirements such as language proficiency and knowledge of Canada. If they fail that time, their application is refused.
While the study guide and written test are under revision to make them more relevant to the Canada of today, it is still up to the applicant’s efforts and preparation to determine if they can finally call themselves Citizens of Canada.