2021-2022 Annual Report

Institute for Canadian Citizenship

2021 – 2022 Annual Report

Message from the Co-Chairs

This year, we reminded ourselves that at the core of our commitment to citizenship is our concern for those who seek to obtain it. And with renewed focus came renewed energy, creativity and success.

The big news is that our globally unique Canoo Access Pass is now available to nearly 2,000,000 permanent residents and their families. Our magical enhanced citizenship ceremonies continue to welcome the newest members of our proud Canadian family, this year featuring inspiring national leaders like AFN National Chief, RoseAnne Archibald, David Suzuki, and Prime Minister Trudeau.

We launched our Insights and Ideas Strategy Hub, cementing our position as Canada’s go-to experts on citizenship, integration, and the experience of immigration. Our #EqualChance campaign called for urgent changes to finally allow internationally trained daoctors to practice in Canada, spurring concrete policy changes in multiple provinces.

On behalf of our board, we wish to express our deepest appreciation to the ICC’s dedicated staff, loyal donors, committed partners, and exceptional program participants for their trust and support. Just look at what we’ve achieved together, and what more we will achieve in the coming year.

Thank you for your continued belief in our mission, and for doing your part to help us achieve it.


The Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson & John Ralston Saul
Co-Founders & Co-Chairs, Institute for Canadian Citizenship

Message from the CEO

Daniel Bernhard, Chief Executive Officer, Institute for Canadian Citizenship

Sometimes you need to get narrow to expand.

Over the past year, the ICC put aside our more intellectual programming, like the 6 Degrees Forum, to return to our roots as an immigrant-serving organization that champions, facilitates, and celebrates the journey to citizenship at scale.

With our focus renewed, we thoroughly overhauled our Canoo Access Pass, expanding our addressable audience by a factor of 10 and introducing exceptional new benefits from marquee partners like Air Canada, Cirque du Soleil, Live Nation, and Major League Soccer clubs.

And we revived our Ideas and Insights department, to better understand the contemporary immigrant experience. We launched with a bang in March, publishing a stunning poll that provoked Canada to consider whether we truly are the immigration Eden we want to be.

In short, we got narrow to expand. And expand we shall.

I’m beyond proud of our small but mighty team for their resilience, creativity, and dedication to Canada’s future and the immigrants upon which it depends. Thanks to you, and to our generous and faithful donors, we have paved the way for focused, rapid growth in the coming year.

Will you join us on the journey?

Daniel Bernhard, Chief Executive Officer, Institute for Canadian Citizenship

Daniel Bernhard
Chief Executive Officer,
Institute for Canadian Citizenship

Our Work

Canoo Access Pass

We Made a Promise.
We Kept It.

When we published our special Impact Report last year, marking 15 years of working to unlock Canada for newcomers, we made a huge promise. We told the world that we would give newcomers access to our one-of-a-kind Canoo Access Pass not just when they become citizens, but from the very first day they arrive in Canada. We kept that promise. Throughout 2021, our team worked endlessly to relaunch Canoo, resulting in two major changes:

  1. Canoo is now available not just to new citizens but also to all permanent residents within five years of arrival. That’s roughly two million people and their families whose first experience of Canada will be positively life-changing.
  2. We’ve added spectacular new benefits to Canoo, including free and discounted offers with Air Canada, film festival memberships, professional sports tickets, concerts, shows, classes, kids’ activities, volunteering, and so much more.

This expansion will allow hundreds of thousands of newcomer families to discover more than 1,400 of Canada’s top attractions and destinations and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Within 12 months, we aspire to serve more newcomers than all other federally funded settlement agencies, combined, at 0.5% of the cost.

By the numbers:


nationwide partners including new additions like Air Canada, Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment, TIFF and Dragon Boat BC


and growing Canoo members

$40 million+

value of free cultural access generated for Canoo member families since 2010

to learn more about what’s new on Canoo

Enhanced Citizenship Ceremonies

Celebrating the journey of citizenship

As the Government of Canada’s largest ceremony partner, the ICC has delivered more than 400 enhanced citizenship ceremonies across the country in both official languages.  

While COVID-19 forced us to move online and temporarily pause our signature in-person roundtable discussions, it has not stopped us from ensuring meaningful Indigenous participation and creating a magical experience for Canada’s newest citizens. Throughout 2021, we were joined by leading Indigenous leaders from across the country, including AFN National Chief, RoseAnne Archibald, Elder Gilbert Whiteduck, and Elder Marcel Gagnon. Our Indigenous speakers inspired the newest members of our Canadian family, and reminded them that this privilege comes with the obligation to understand and advance reconciliation. 

To keep our ceremonies relevant and dynamic, we often tailor ceremonies to a special occasions or commemorative periods. In 2021, we hosted ceremonies in commemoration of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Black History Month, Asian History Month, Education Month, Human Rights Day, and so many more important occasions. 

For our February 15th livestream ceremony commemorating Black History Month and Flag Day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau surprised the new citizens with an unannounced special appearance, alongside Minister of Immigration, Sean Fraser. Other notable guests and performers include Commander Chris Hadfield, JUNO Award-winning conductor and composer Samy Moussa, Canadian novelist Esi Edugyan, The Melisizwe Brothers, and many others. 

By the numbers:


ceremonies hosted in 2021


new citizens sworn in


volunteers, guest speakers, including Indigenous leaders and performers since 2015
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Judge Suzanna Carrière with new citizen families, February 15, 2022

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Judge Suzanna Carrière with new citizen families, February 15, 2022

Hon. Sean Fraser, Minister of IRCC leading the Oath, February 15, 2022

Hon. Sean Fraser, Minister of IRCC leading the Oath, February 15, 2022

Deanne Hupfield performing a Powwow dance, November 19, 2021


Advocating for newcomers

The journey to full and equal citizenship is often obstructed by professional bodies and regulators that prevent highly trained newcomers from contributing their professional expertise to Canada.

For example, even when internationally trained medical doctors get their credentials recognized and pass Canadian qualifying exams, many are still systematically excluded from practicing medicine. Even after earning extra certifications, internationally trained doctors still aren’t allowed to apply to 90% of the total residency positions available in Canada. These thousands of internationally trained doctors in Canada are waiting on the sidelines to support the health of Canadians.

This is unwise in the best of times, but during a global health emergency, with ICUs overflowing and even critical surgeries being cancelled, excluding fully qualified immigrant doctors from working is quite simply reckless.

The ICC believes that it is not enough to simply “admit” immigrants into the country. For Canada to be truly welcoming and inclusive, we must ensure that immigrants have fair opportunities to contribute their skills and experiences to the Canadian economy – especially doctors, nurses, teachers, and other public service professionals. This is why, in May 2021, in partnership with Vancity, spark* advocacy, and Leger, we launched the #EqualChance campaign. 

#EqualChance called for urgent, essential changes that would finally allow internationally trained doctors, to contribute to the Canadian healthcare system. 

By the numbers:


official partners


media mentions


Campaign signees / community advocates

1 million

social media impressions


positive sentiment to campaign social media

The Ideas and Insights Strategy Hub

Canada’s go-to experts on citizenship, integration and the experience of immigrant life

The Government of Canada intends to bring over 1.2 million new permanent residents to the country and accept thousands of international students, refugee claimants, and temporary foreign workers for temporary residence. The importance of immigration for Canada will continue to grow and be an integral component of the country’s post-COVID-19 recovery. Yet the academic understanding of the immigrant experience is poor, and almost nobody is looking at the journey from arrival to full and equal Canadian citizenship, a journey which fewer and fewer people are completing.

The pandemic offered the ICC the opportunity to reimagine our approach to research and public policy work in the area of immigration and citizenship. We wanted to do more than just publish reports. Instead, we want to marshal data and outside expertise into our programming, share the lessons of our programming with the world, and influence the broader discourse around citizenship and immigration in Canada and beyond.

Launched in early 2022, the Hub will position the ICC to undertake vital research and provide public policy insights to help inform and optimize Canada’s immigration program as our nation strives to build back from COVID-19. The Hub also creates a two-way exchange between research and the ICC’s applied programming, so that our research ideas can be tested and program learnings can be shared.

We completed our first public poll just before year-end.   In partnership with Léger Research, we found that 30% of 18–34-year-old newcomers say they are likely to leave Canada in the next two years. The story garnered immense media attention, with coverage in CTV News, CBC, Toronto Star, Newswire, Business in Vancouver, and many other outlets. We are already applying the findings by adjusting the Canoo program to add more activities targeted at young newcomer families. Our theory is that more are likely to stay in Canada if they enjoy it here. This is a perfect example of our overall intention to help the public discourse adapt to new realities, while also channelling data and strategies in the other direction, so that the best available research and practices find their way back into our programming.

Financials 2021-2022

Total Revenue


Government Grants




COVID subsidies





Total Expenses









The figures above are preliminary, pending final approval from the ICC's 2021-2022 auditors, BDO Canada LLP.
Additional financial information relating to the ICC can be found on our website https: //www.inclusion.ca/ or on the CRA website https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency.html. To view ICC Charity Return History on the CRA website, click here.

Our Community

The ICC is tremendously grateful for the growing community of generous and loyal donors and partners who have joined us in our mission to unlock Canada for newcomers. To our donors and partners— individuals, foundations, corporations, government—you support us through generous contributions, you tell others about our work, and you make us more powerful than we could ever be on our own.

Thank you for your unwavering support and generosity!

“As a new Canadian I believe we need to support all of us.
Thank you for your action.”

Gregory Ogorek, donor

How You Can Help

Your contribution can help us make Canada the most welcoming country on Earth and create new ways to persuade newcomers that they belong here. The work of welcoming newcomers is a labour of love in which all of us must share.

Ways you can make a difference: