New website to help youths navigate path of citizenship

By Gerald V. Paul

Young immigrants can learn about the importance of getting their Canadian citizenship as government rules tightens, thanks to a national website and mobile app launched on Tuesday.

The new website, funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, encourages immigrant youth to earn “badges” as they complete the educational tasks to help them keep track of their progress.

And according to Debbie Douglas, Executive Director of the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI), an umbrella organization of 200 groups behind the initiative, “Many immigrant and refugee youth are unsure of what it means to be a Canadian citizen, or are unaware of their citizenship status. Complications arise if they try to travel or get charged with a crime. We are confident that citizenship will help change that trend.”

The website and its accompanying Android/iPhone APP explain the benefits of becoming a citizen, and the application process as well as providing preparation materials for the citizenship test.

Also, there is information to dispel myths and misinformation about becoming a Canadian citizen, such as having to give up one’s citizenship and passport from the home country, and how getting charged or convicted with a crime will affect a person’s immigrant status.

In June, Ottawa passed a controversial new law, in part, to limit access to appeals by permanent residents with criminal convictions when faced with having their immigrant status revoked.