Institute for Canadian Citizenship CEO, Yasir Naqvi congratulated new citizens at Nawapon room. The event was hosted with the Canadian government, Institute for Canadian Citizenship and Algonquin College. Photo credit: Burak Edirnecik

Algonquin College welcomed 33 new Canadians to campus on Dec. 12 to take their oaths of citizenship.

The Institute for Canadian Citizenship hosted the citizenship ceremony in Nawapon room.

New citizens started their ceremony with a round table discussion sharing their stories with each other.

“One of the things that we do is these roundtable discussions to talk about people’s journeys as to why did they come to Canada,” said Yasin Naqvi, the chief executive officer of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship.

“But most importantly, we talk about what they are going to do with their Canadian citizenship to instill with them the notion of responsibility as a Canadian citizen.”

Most of the attendees were relatives or friends of new Canadians. “I am here to celebrate my daughter-in-law becoming a Canadian citizen,” said Gayle Deschamps.“[Canada] is a beautiful, inclusive country and everybody would be very welcome here.”

Algonquin College President, Claude Brulé also announced an inclusion and diversity blueprint.

“Our blueprint for equity, diversity and inclusion is something that is at the core of who we are as the college,” said Brulé. “We want to give everybody a chance to be speaking with an equal voice in the college.”

Even though attending a citizenship ceremony is mandatory for someone to become a citizen, some employers do not give days off to their immigrant employees.

Brulé also acknowledged this issue and said the blueprint will help the college combat this kind of behaviour.