Friday March 27, 2015

Canadian citizenship test too difficult, failing visible minorities

New Canadians take the oath of citizenship at a ceremony in Dartmouth. The dramatic drop in citizenship rates noted as Canada changes citizenship test has some wondering if its unintended consequence or foreseeable fallout?

New Canadians take the oath of citizenship at a ceremony in Dartmouth. The dramatic drop in citizenship rates noted as Canada changes citizenship test has some wondering if its unintended consequence or foreseeable fallout? (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

Listen 11:33

It's been five years now since some big changes to the way immigrants to Canada become citizens of Canada. And the results are causing some concerns. The government's 2010 overhaul was intended to make the citizenship process more meaningful for immigrants.

The study guide for the citizenship test was updated, to make it more reflective of the country today. And the test itself, was made more difficult. Perhaps, too difficult. According to statistics, there's been a pronounced drop in the number of would-be citizens passing the test.... especially from within certain immigrant groups. 

Andrew Griffith is a former Director General of the Citizenship and Multiculturalism Branch at the Department of Citizenship and Immigration. He has a forthcoming book that looks at the impact of the new, tougher citizenship tests, called "Multiculturalism in Canada: Evidence and Anecdote."

Want to take the Canadian citizenship test?  

Let us know how you do on the test. Send us your results.

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This segment was produced by The Current's Sujata Berry and Samira Mohyeddin. 

We did request an interview with the Minister for Citizenship and Immigration, Chris Alexander. He was not available to do the interview, but here is the full written statement sent to us from a spokesperson.