Permanent Residents who wish to become Canadian citizens will have to take and pass a test which examines how familiar they are with Canadian history, government, culture and the nation in general. The good news is that it is likely that while you are a Permanent Resident you will learn everything you need to know for the test, just by being involved in Canadian society.
However, it isn’t a problem if you don’t know everything that is necessary to pass the test. Spending some time to read about Canada and doing a little studying will help you pass the test with flying colors. A convenient time to start studying for the test may be around the time that you file for citizenship with Immigration Direct.
Below is a walkthrough of some of the questions you may see on the test.
Can Permanent Residents vote? How many years must Permanent Residents live in Canada to vote?
This is a bit of a trick question because the second part of it leads you to believe that the answer to the first question is yes. The only people who are allowed to vote in federal elections in Canada are citizens and only citizens. Permanent Residents, regardless of how long they have lived in Canada are not allowed to vote. This question also illustrates another great reason to become a citizen in Canada. With citizenship you can vote for the people who run the federal government and create laws that affect you on a daily basis.
How does the Canadian government work?
The government of Canada is composed of three separate parts. The first is the executive which included the Queen or King and the Governor General. Then there is the Parliament which is composed of the House of Commons (who are elected) and the Senate (who are appointed). While this list is ordered, it confers no particular importance to any of the parts and the third, the judiciary, is probably one of the most important because it is responsible for determining whether or not a decision from the other two parts is lawful.
What does the Queen do in the Canadian government? What does the Prime Minister do?
In Canadian government the sovereign (Queen, King, Monarch) are the executive authority for the federal government. However, the Queen is advised by the Prime Minister of the parliament in the matters of operating the Canadian government. So the Prime Minister is the head of the government and the Queen gives assent to the decisions that the Parliament puts into place.
You may also need to know some important names in government. As of December 2012 the Queen is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Prime Minister is The Right Honourable Stephen Harper. There are many Members of Parliament and they are elected from districts. As a Permanent Resident you belong to one of those districts even though you are not able to vote. You should know the name of your district’s representative. And lastly, one of the most important government officials for immigrants is the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, who happens to be the Honourable Jason Kenney.