The percentage of permanent residents obtaining Canadian citizenship has plummeted since 2001, according to new Statistics Canada data obtained by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship.
Despite Canada’s efforts to attract growing numbers of newcomers, the proportion of immigrants who seize the opportunity to become Canadian is in freefall. Data collected during the 2021 Census reveal that just 45.7% of permanent residents became citizens within 10 years, down from 60% in 2016 and 75.1% in 2001. This represents a 40% decline in citizenship uptake over 20 years.
These numbers were shared by Statistics Canada with the Institute for Canadian Citizenship as part of ongoing research into declining citizenship rates.
“To go from 75% of newcomers obtaining citizenship to only 45% is simply shocking,” said Daniel Bernhard, CEO of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship.
“It goes against everything we tend to think about Canada being a welcoming country. It raises all sorts of questions that will have no easy answers, but it is certainly a wakeup call. Canada’s future depends on newcomers becoming Canadian and contributing their energy and talents to our shared success. We should be extremely alarmed that newcomers are falling out of love with Canadian citizenship, which has, for decades, been highly desirable.”
“The declining citizenship rate has the potential to harm Canada’s long-term economic, social and democratic resilience. Immigrants are not just workers, but future voters and civic leaders. What’s certain is that the future of Canadian democracy depends on this issue being addressed. The ICC is working hard to identify the causes behind this apparent crash in the market value of being Canadian and we encourage all committed Canadians to join us.” said George Carothers, Senior Director, Ideas and Insights at the ICC.
“We should want those who are contributing to Canada to stay here and become citizens,” he concluded.
Thanks to its Canoo Access Pass, the ICC is in touch with almost half a million recent immigrants. The ICC will be working with them over the coming months to better understand the root causes of this shocking decline.