Toronto / June 23, 2021 - OCASI – Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants commends the government on implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Call to Action 94 on June 21, 2021, National Indigenous Peoples Day by amending the Citizenship Act.
From June 22, 2021 new citizens will swear the new oath, making a commitment to uphold treaties with Indigenous peoples as well as other commitments to Canada.
“I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada, including the Constitution, which recognizes and affirms the Aboriginal and treaty rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples, and fulfill my duties as a Canadian citizen.
Oath or Affirmation of Citizenship
« Je jure (ou j’affirme solennellement) que je serai fidèle et porterai sincère allégeance à Sa Majesté la reine Elizabeth Deux, Reine du Canada, à ses héritiers et successeurs, que j’observerai fidèlement les lois du Canada, y compris la Constitution, qui reconnaît et affirme les droits ancestraux et issus de traités des Premières Nations, des Inuits et des Métis, et que je remplirai loyalement mes obligations de citoyen canadien. »
Serment (ou affirmation solennelle) de citoyenneté
This is a significant change that clearly and firmly puts new Canadians on the path to honouring and building respectful relationships with Indigenous peoples, just as they would build relationships with other peoples in Canada.
OCASI calls of the Government of Canada to fully implement all the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, as well as the 231 Calls For Justice of the National Inquiry into the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. We commit ourselves to the Calls to Action and Calls for Justice in ways that respect and honour Indigenous Peoples.
We in the immigrant and refugee-serving sector can respond by acquainting or reacquainting ourselves with the Calls to Action and Calls to Justice, and the reports of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and National Inquiry into the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. We can continue to call on all orders of government for their full implementation. We can do our part to bring this knowledge and awareness to future Canadians.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established in 2008 with a mandate to inform all Canadians about what happened in Indian Residential Schools (IRS), and document the truth of survivors, families, communities and anyone personally affected by the IRS experience. The Commission released its final report in 2015 with 94 Calls to Action.
The Calls to Action are not only for the Canadian Government, but for all Canadians individually and collectively, to seek the truth and to redress historical wrongs. Calls to Action 93 and 94 are specifically directed to newcomers to Canada.
Call to Action 93 and 94:
93. We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with the national Aboriginal organizations, to revise the information kit for newcomers to Canada and its citizenship test to reflect a more inclusive history of the diverse Aboriginal peoples of Canada, including Calls to Action| 11 information about the Treaties and the history of residential schools.
94. We call upon the Government of Canada to replace the Oath of Citizenship with the following: I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada including Treaties with Indigenous Peoples, and fulfill my duties as a Canadian citizen.
The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls was launched by the Government of Canada in 2016 after repeated calls from Indigenous peoples and organizations. It was the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #41. In its final report, “Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls”, the Inquiry stated that Canada’s laws and institutions “…perpetuate violations of fundamental rights, amounting to a genocide against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.”