Revamped citizenship guide still a work in progress

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With the elections around the corner, the promised overhaul of Canada’s citizenship guide is still a work in progress.

That leaves newcomers to the country with the existing guide which is riddled with historical gaps and outdated information as their primary document for preparing for the citizenship test.

The government is revamping the 68-page Discover Canada document, last updated in 2012, to better reflect diversity and to include more “meaningful content” about the history and rights of Indigenous people and the residential school experience.

With just five months to go before the federal election, a spokesman for Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said a launch date still has not been set and offered no specific explanation for the delay.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) had recommended revising information materials for newcomers and the citizenship test to reflect “a more inclusive history of the diverse Aboriginal peoples of Canada, including information about the treaties and the history of residential schools.”

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Until the new guide is released, newcomers will have to use the existing guide to study for the citizenship test. It contains limited information on the legacy of residential schools, outdated information on things like population numbers and lyrics to the national anthem that have since been changed by Parliament to make them more gender-neutral.

A draft copy of the revised guide obtained by a media agency showed a reference to the illegal practice of female genital mutilation had been dropped. Media reports suggest that the Liberals hoped to have the new guide in place for Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017.

Here are some of the recommendations that have been made:
-Responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call for language that better reflects the perspectives and history of Indigenous peoples of Canada.
-Showcasing Canada’s cultural diversity and commitment to official languages.
-Presenting the social evolution of civic rights and freedoms for LGBT, women and people with disabilities.
-Using language that is more accessible for second-language learners and structuring the document so the newcomer can more easily identify the main points of each chapter. -CINEWS

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