Canada encourages permanent immigrants to adopt Canadian citizenship, and naturalization is regarded by the government as "a significant step in the integration process for newcomers because it signifies full participation in Canadian life."
As a result, the country has one of the highest naturalization rates in the world. In 2011, 85.6 percent of all immigrants who were entitled to naturalize had done so.
The high naturalization rate is probably one reason that explains why high levels of immigration and diversity have failed to become political issues that can be taken advantage of by right-wing parties during elections, as has happened in many European countries over the past decade. The high naturalization rate means that the majority of immigrants have the right to vote, and their votes affect election outcomes in areas with the most electoral districts, i.e. the major urban centers where immigrants tend to settle. Thus, politicians (and the parties they belong to) have more to lose than to gain from resorting to inflammatory anti-immigrant or anti-diversity rhetoric.
Naturalization requirements changed slightly in 2010. In order to become a naturalized citizen, a person must be a permanent resident of Canada (i.e. must have been granted permission to reside permanently in Canada by immigration authorities), must have lived in Canada for at least three out of the four years prior to application, must demonstrate the ability to communicate in English or French (by passing a language test or by having completed a post-secondary degree in English or French), and must pass a citizenship test
Maintaining dual citizenship has been possible for Canadian citizens since 1977. In 2011, 944,700 individuals, or 2.9 percent of the population, had multiple citizenships, 79.5 percent of whom were immigrants.
In 2009, a new Citizenship Act took effect, limiting the acquisition of Canadian citizenship by descent to the first generation born outside Canada. In other words, if someone is born outside Canada and obtains Canadian citizenship from a parent, that person can no longer pass Canadian citizenship on to their own children, if they are also born abroad. All persons born on Canadian territory automatically acquire Canadian citizenship (jus soli).