Federal government press release: Growing number of new citizens in Scarborough

May 1, 2014—Scarborough (Toronto), ON—More than 3,200 new citizens from approximately 135 countries were welcomed to Canada in Scarborough over the past month—more than double the number of individuals who became citizens in Scarborough in April 2013.

The continually high number of new citizens welcomed in Scarborough demonstrates how the government is working to make the citizenship program more efficient, helping more people realize their dream of becoming Canadian sooner.

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The government’s proposed changes in Bill C-24, the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, will further reduce wait times by streamlining the decision-making process for citizenship. It is expected that those changes will bring the average processing time for citizenship applications down to under one year and that the current backlog will be reduced by more than 80% by 2015-2016.

Since 2006, Canada has enjoyed the highest sustained levels of immigration in Canadian history—an average of a quarter million newcomers each year. Accordingly, the demand for citizenship has increased by 30%.

Related: Young son of slain Afghan journalist arrives in Canada: TORONTO: Six weeks after surviving a Taliban attack on a Kabul hotel that left his father, mother, brother and sister dead, miracle child Abuzar Ahmad arrived in Canada on Wednesday to start his life anew.

Abuzar Ahmad arrives at Pearson Airport in Toronto, Ontario on April 30, 2014, to start his life anew

The son of a slain AFP reporter, a little Afghan boy who will soon turn three, was accompanied on a two day voyage from Kabul to Toronto by his new guardians, cousin Turaj Rais Mohammad and his wife.

Wearing jeans and a blue cap to keep him warm and protect the scars left by a bullet wound to his head, the orphan and his new guardians arrived in Toronto late Wednesday.

“Welcome to Toronto Abuzar,” read a banner hung outside the airport by other members of his extended family, awaiting his arrival.

The slight child’s interim residence permit was inspected by Canadian officials and he appeared calm, after having slept for much of the more than ten hour flight from Istanbul.

“We are extremely happy to arrive today in Canada,” a smiling Rais said, thanking Canadian authorities.

“This will give Abuzar the best chance to rebuild his life after the tragedy, in a quiet environment and surrounded by the love and affection of his family members already settled in Toronto.”