The Canadian Citizenship Test is a test, administered by the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, that is required for all applicants for Canadian citizenship who are aged between 14 and 64 and who meet the basic requirements for citizenship. The test is available in both French and English, the official languages of Canada. The test is usually written, but in some cases it might be oral and take place in the form of an interview with a citizenship officer. The Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship decides if the applicant's test is written or oral, depending on their various criteria.
The test lasts for 30 minutes and contains 20 multiple choice questions. Applicants for citizenship must answer at least 15 (75%) questions correctly to pass the test.
The test contains questions drawn from a pool of around 200, and is based on the content of the official guide "Discover Canada (The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship)". The test asks questions on the following subject matters:Rights and responsibilities of a Canadian citizen - (e.g. "Name three legal rights protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.")
Canadian history - (e.g. "Who were the United Empire Loyalists?")
Canadian political systems - (e.g. "How are members of Parliament chosen?")
Canadian physical and political geography - (e.g. "Where are the Parliament buildings located?")
Specific questions about the applicant's region - (e.g. "What is the name of the premier of your province or territory?")
Canadian values, such as democracy, gender equality, and human rights, are much more emphasized in this new edition. Canada's native roots and population are also much better portrayed.
The test also assesses language abilities. To pass the test, the applicant must understand simple statements and questions and communicate simple information to CIC staff in either French or English.
On March 15, 2010, a new and more thorough test was introduced. This test is based on a longer 63-page guide called Discover Canada. This gives immigrants a richer picture on Canada's history, culture, law and politics. At the same time, immigrants are required to memorize more facts for the test.
The failure rate on the citizenship test has been low until recently; in 2008, approximately 4% of the 145,000 test takers failed.
However, the failure rate for the new citizenship test is much higher. When it was first introduced on March 15, 2010, the failure rate rose to 30%. Later on, a reworked version of the test introduced on October 14, 2010 brought the national failure rate down to around 20%, but the rate was still significantly higher than that of the old test.
When the applicant meets the standard of 15 correct answers and the citizenship judge deems that the applicant meets all requirements for citizenship, the applicant is either invited to attend a citizenship ceremony within six months, or receives a residency questionnaire requesting further evidence of living in Canada.
If the English or French language requirement is in doubt for the applicant then a hearing with a Citizenship judge is scheduled.
The applicant is required to swear or affirm an oath and is presented with a Citizenship Certificate.
An applicant who fails to meet the standard is scheduled for to retake the multiple-choice written test. If they fail again, they must have a 15 to 20 minute interview with a citizenship judge. The judge asks the applicant 20 questions that may be multiple choice, true or false, or question and answer. The judge assesses whether the applicant has correctly answered 15 questions and demonstrated the necessary knowledge to be granted citizenship. In 2008, approximately 20% of the interviewees were refused citizenship.