Conservative bill would ban niqabs during citizenship ceremony

By: Debra Black, Immigration Reporter
Toronto Star | June 19, 2015

Ottawa has introduced new legislation that requires all Canadian citizenship applicants to show their face while taking the oath of citizenship.

The Oath of Citizenship Act, which was introduced Friday, is designed to make sure candidates are seen and heard reciting the oath of citizenship during ceremonies. The act would require all applicants to swear or affirm the oath of citizenship publicly and openly and in a way that others can verify both “aloud and with face uncovered.”

The new act is in response to a recent Federal Court of Canada decision that ruled it is “unlawful” for Ottawa to order new citizens to remove their face-covering veil or niqab when taking the oath of citizenship.

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The National Council of Canadian Muslims, a prominent Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, said the new legislation undermines Canada’s cherished principles of freedom and equality for all.

“It is very disheartening that our government is spending so much time and effort to revive what is essentially a manufactured issue which appears to be being used for political purposes,” said Ihsaan Gardee, NCCM’s executive director….