Should Individuals be Allowed to Wear a Religious Garb While Taking The Citizenship Oath?

(Below is a transcription of this video)

Hi, this is Michael Niren, immigration lawyer and founder of A lot of controversy surrounding whether or not an individual who is taking the oath of Canadian citizenship should have the right to cover up their face, usually for religious purposes while taking the oath.

Should Individuals Wear a Religious Garb While Taking The Citizenship Oath?

Well, generally speaking, I think they should have that right, however there is a concern about identity. If you cover your face completely, will the oath taker be able to reveal themselves to the authorities, now that is obviously a concern. I think that it is essential that anyone taking the oath of Canadian citizenship has to identify themselves to the authorities.

So the question really is, is there a way around it? Now that’s a question that could be addressed by the authorities procedurally, but if that can be overcome? If the oath taker who is wearing a religious garb, for example an hijab, can properly identify themselves, then they should have the right to do. We after all live in a free society, that gives people the right to religious freedom, freedom of expression, doesn’t mean you have to endorse those views, but that is part of being in a free society. Our charter of rights and freedom guarantees it.

Most Canadians Say Faces Shouldn’t be Covered at Citizenship Ceremonies

So, a recent poll by the way disagrees with me, 88% of Canadians believe that individuals should not have the right to wear a face covering during citizenship oath, and that could just mean that they believe that that’s going to be a problem for identity. And like I said, I do agree with that. However, if there is ways around it and I think the authorities should try to accommodate such individuals, if they can, then I don’t think that would be a problem. So that’s my take, you may not agree or you may agree, you can click like or unlike and feel free to visit us at

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Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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