Changes To Canadian Oath Of Citizenship To Recognize First Nations Tabled In Parliament

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The proposed change will recognize rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples. The amendment to the Oath demonstrates the Government’s commitment to reconciliation and to the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

OTTAWA – Immigration Minister Marco E. L. Mendicino introduced a Bill to amend the Citizenship Act to change Canada’s Oath of Citizenship this week which will recognize First Nations.

“The Oath is a solemn declaration that all newcomers recite during the citizenship ceremony. With this amendment, we will take an important step towards reconciliation by encouraging new Canadians to fully appreciate and respect the significant role of Indigenous Peoples in forming Canada’s fabric and identity,” said Mendicino.

The bill responds to the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission by inserting text that refers to the rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The Government of Canada is committed to reconciliation and a renewed relationship with Indigenous Peoples based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership. The proposed amendment to the Oath demonstrates the Government’s commitment to reconciliation and to the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The new proposed language adds references to the Aboriginal and treaty rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples:

“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 fulfill my duties as a Canadian citizen.”

All new Canadians recite the Oath before receiving their Canadian citizenship. It is a promise to abide by the laws of Canada and to take on the rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship.

The Government encourages all new citizens to join the Canadian family by becoming active in their communities and upholding Canadian values.

Quick facts:

  • The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report states: “Precisely because ‘we are all Treaty People’, Canada’s Oath of Citizenship must include a solemn promise to respect Aboriginal and Treaty rights.”
  • The Government consulted extensively with national Indigenous organizations on amendments to the Oath of Citizenship.
  • 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, Indigenous People are 5% of Canada’s population—more than 1.6 million people.