Canada is resuming citizenship knowledge tests online, eight months after they were suspended due to the coronavirus crisis.
A new online platform was launched by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on Thursday November 26, which it says will include safeguards to identify test candidates.
The test will initially be offered to candidates who had scheduled tests cancelled before COVID-19 struck, plus cases deemed a priority.
The platform is to be tested in the coming months, and opened to more candidates once officials are happy with performance and reliability.
To protect the integrity of the test, candidates are asked to first confirm their identity, then take a picture of themselves with identity papers. The platform then takes pictures of the candidate during the test.
IRCC says it will contact candidates via email to invite them to take the test. Candidates can take the test at a time convenient to them, within 21 days.
All citizenship applicants aged 18 to 54 must successfully pass the citizenship test. The format of the test is 20 questions, with 30 minutes to complete them.
As ceremonies were cancelled in the early part of the pandemic in Canada, the number of new citizens plummeted in March, April, May and June, the latest available figures show.
Just five people became Canadian citizenships in April, compared to the 26,730 in February, the last month before coronavirus restrictions took hold.
The latest figures show 1,656 people became citizens in June, as virtual ceremonies gradually increased the numbers, but this is still dramatically down on pre-pandemic numbers, and down on the 20,667 who became citizens in June 2019.
In the first half of 2020, 62,696 people became citizens, with more than 50,000 doing so in January and February, before coronavirus hit Canada. By comparison, 127,580 became citizens in the first six months of 2019.