'I feel very happy': Hundreds become Canadian citizens at ceremony in Sask.

Jaswinder Chadha, second from left, and her family pose for a photo at a citizenship oath ceremony in Saskatoon on Friday. (CBC News - image credit)
Jaswinder Chadha, second from left, and her family pose for a photo at a citizenship oath ceremony in Saskatoon on Friday. (CBC News - image credit)

Jaswinder Chadha says she never thought she'd be a Canadian citizen.

But on Friday she took the oath of citizenship along with hundreds of other people at a ceremony in Saskatoon.

"It feels awesome. It has been a long journey with ups and downs," said Chadha, who came to Regina from India about a decade ago.

The ceremony at TCU Place saw 306 people from 53 countries become citizens.

"Welcome home and welcome to our Canadian family," citizenship judge Suzanne Carrière told the crowd.

Carrière noted people have immigrated to Canada for many reasons, including war, instability and better opportunities.

"You've persevered, you've embraced this new country," she said.

Chadha said she decided to come to Saskatchewan because her brother already lived here. She did her master's at the University of Regina and now works at SaskTel.

"I love Saskatchewan. I just want to live here," she said.

Angelina Shabani, originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, also became a citizen Friday.

"I feel very happy," she said. "We have the right to do many things as Canadians."

She said she looks forward to continuing to help the community as a health care aide in Regina.

Albert Couillard/Radio-Canada
Albert Couillard/Radio-Canada

Friday's ceremony was one of the largest in-person ceremonies that's taken place in Saskatchewan and one of the few in-person ceremonies since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Carrière.

"All-around a very special day for new Canadians," Carrière said.

The federal government recently released a plan to massively increase the number of immigrants entering Canada, with a goal of bringing in 500,000 people in 2025.

The move is necessary to ensure Canada's economic prosperity, according to Immigration Minister Sean Fraser.

The new plan puts an emphasis on increasing the number of immigrants who will be admitted based on their work skills or experience over the next three years.

Meanwhile, Saskatchewan has signaled that it wants greater autonomy from Ottawa over immigration to help achieve its goal of growing the population to 1.4 million by 2030.