Eight months after all citizenship tests were cancelled, Canada is now making the test available online.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is testing the new platform over the next few months. During this time, online citizenship tests will first be offered to those whose tests were cancelled due to the pandemic and those who are on the waiting list.
IRCC will invite more citizenship applicants to use the platform after performance monitoring proves it works reliably. More people will likely be invited to take the test in the new year, CBC reports.
Test-takers will have to confirm their identity through personal information, and take a photo of themselves and their ID documents with a webcam before the test begins.
Citizenship applicants will have 21 days to complete the test, at a time that is convenient for them.
The system will take photos of participants during the test, which is a process that has been used to monitor other tests that have moved online during the pandemic such as bar exams, and law school admissions tests.
IRCC had been working on modernizing the citizenship program before the pandemic, according to a media release. Online testing was a part of this initiative.
Much like the in-person tests, online tests will be 20 questions and participants will have 30 minutes to complete them.
IRCC said that people do not need to reach out to the department, those invited to take the test online, or their representative, will be notified by email.
There is also the option to wait to take the test in-person, but no date has been set yet for resuming that process.
As of September 7, about 85,000 people were waiting to take the citizenship test, according to IRCC data.
The backlog in citizenship applications was the impetus for the group Advocates for Resumption of Canadian Citizenship Tests, who held demonstrations in Toronto and Montreal in early November. Among one of the group’s calls to actions was the resumption of citizenship tests.
In a statement to CIC News, the group called the online testing initiative “a step in the right direction” but question whether or not it will be sufficient to address the needs of tens of thousands of applicants in a timely manor.
As part of the Citizenship Act, all citizenship applicants between ages 18 to 54 must demonstrate knowledge of Canada in order to become citizens. Prior to 1994, this process was done by interview, which is still the case for applicants over age 55.
Canadian citizenship gives immigrants the right to vote and get a passport. It also gives many people a sense of belonging, and security.
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