May 28, 2019 – Ottawa –
The Honourable Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, today introduced Bill C-99, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act, to change Canada’s Oath of Citizenship to include clear reference to the rights of Indigenous peoples.
The proposed amendment to the Oath reflects the Government of Canada’s commitment to reconciliation, and a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples based on recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership. It also demonstrates the Government’s commitment to responding to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
The new proposed language adds references to Canada’s Constitution and the Aboriginal and treaty rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métispeoples:
“I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada,including the Constitution, which recognizes and affirms the Aboriginal and treaty rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen”.
Taking the Oath of Citizenship is the last step before receiving Canadian citizenship. The Oath of Citizenship is a solemn promise to follow the laws of Canada and to perform the new citizen’s duties as a Canadian citizen. It is a public declaration that the new citizen is joining the Canadian family and that the new citizen is committed to Canadian values and traditions.
- Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 recognizes rights – including both Aboriginal rights and treaty rights – of Indigenous peoples (section 35 speaks of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada). Section 35 protects the practices and customs that are at the centre of Indigenous culture and traditions. The rights covered by section 35 include hunting and fishing rights, land rights and self-government rights.
- Canada supports the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
- The Declaration recognizes Indigenous peoples’ human rights, as well as rights to self-determination, language, equality and land.
- Today, more than 1.6 million people, or nearly 5% of Canada’s population, are Indigenous