Thirty-five new Canadians took the oath of citizenship during a special Citizenship Ceremony held at York University on May 30 as part of Canada’s 150th national birthday celebrations.
York welcomed Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC) for the event. The day included roundtable discussions on what it means to be Canadian, which featured special roundtable guest host Global TV’s Alan Carter.
Held in the Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan Theatre in the Accolade East Building, the Citizenship Ceremony was presided by Justice Albert Wong, and featured guest speakers Helena Jaczek, minister of Community Services and MPP, Oak Ridges-Markham; as well as Mamdouh Shoukri, president and vice-chancellor of York University.
“You have now come to a point where you will soon be taking an oath of Canadian citizenship, the last step in becoming a Canadian citizen. Congratulations,” said Wong to the candidates. “How you came to Canada and how you chose to become a Canadian citizen will now add to the mosaic that makes this country so attractive to all of us.”
Wong encouraged new Canadians to actively seek out volunteerism opportunities, and to engage in the arts and education – important components of Canadian society.
Candidates repeated the oath of citizenship and crossed the stage to collect their certificates of citizenship.
Guests and new citizens heard from Jaczek, who shared her own story of immigration as a child from England and offered insights on her experience becoming a Canadian citizen.
“While we celebrate our differences in this country, what I have come to note over the years is how we are all the same,” she said. “We live in peace and harmony, we celebrate our differences, but we know that we are all fundamentally the same. We are equal.”
Congratulations were also offered by Shoukri, who noted the celebration was particularly meaningful as it coincides with the marking of Canada’s 150th anniversary this year. He said it provides an important opportunity to reflect on our own citizenship and how we can work together to preserve and strengthen all that we love about this remarkable country for future generations.
“I’m proud to live in a country that honours and celebrates diversity, a country that upholds inclusion,” he said. “As president of York University, I can’t think of many places better suited to host a citizenship ceremony than York University. At York, we are known for our social responsibility, global perspective, our community engagement, and commitment to sustainability. We embody many of the same qualities that make Canada the country it is.”
York University is proud to be one of the most diverse university campuses in Canada, home to more than 60,000 students, faculty and staff who trace their roots to 157 countries.
A reception for new Canadians and guests followed the ceremony in the CIBC Lobby.