CIC Releases Audio Book Version of Citizenship Test Guide

The Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship guide is now available as an audio-text eBook (Citizenship and Immigration Canada)

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced the release of a downloadable audio eBook of the Discover Canada citizenship test guide on Friday.

The eBook allows a reader to listen to an audio version of the guide while they follow along by reading the text on any digital viewer.

Since launching in 2009, almost one million hard copies and 400,000 digital copies of the guide have been distributed, which CIC says makes it one of the most widely read government publications in Canadian history.

The audio portion of the eBook includes readings by well known Canadians Adrienne Clarkson, Ian Hanomansing and, in the French version, Jean-Benoît Rainville.

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced the new integrated audio eBook to coincide with Canada Day:

“I’m pleased to launch the audio eBook version of Discover Canada just in time for Canada Day. This is yet another way those studying for the citizenship test can learn about Canada’s history, values, symbols and important institutions.”

The new guide could help improve the pass rate of Canadian citizenship exam takers, which has fallen in recent years as the test has been made more difficult.

Fewer Test-Takers Passing Canadian Citizenship Exam

Citizens take the oath (Government of Canada)

Since the federal government increased the passing grade on the Canadian citizenship exam from 12/20 to 15/20 in 2010 and increased the number of topics that the test covers, failure rates have nearly quadrupled, from approximately 4 percent in 2009, to 15 percent in 2011, according to a report by Cary Mills of the Globe and Mail.

Mills notes that the increase in exam difficulty is affecting certain communities more than others, for example pushing failure rates for Afghan-born immigrants from 21 percent in the year before the exam changes, to nearly 50 percent in the year after, and pushing those for Vietnamese-born immigrants from 14.8 percent before the exam, to 41.2 percent after.

Immigrants from Australia, England and the United States meanwhile have continued to fare very well on the exam, with only 2 percent failing every year. This indicates that higher language proficiency requirements are the most important result of the increase in the difficulty of the exam.

The Harper government has made proficiency in an official Canadian language a more important part of getting both permanent residency status and citizenship in recent years, including changing the eligibility requirements for the important Federal Skilled Worker Program in 2010 to require a passing grade on an English or French language test to qualify for permanent residence.