Citizenship Full Circle

Photo of the blog author By Ron Fanfair,
Toronto Police Service
Published: 10:58 a.m. August 23, 2017

Nearly 40 years ago, Acting Deputy Chief Peter Yuen was sworn in as a Canadian citizen.

A man in TPS uniform shakes hands with a woman
Staff Superintendent Peter Yuen gave new Canadians their citizenship certificates
  • A man in TPS uniform shakes hands with a woman
  • A man in TPS uniform beside another man giving thumbs up
  • A group of people on a stage beside Canadian flags

To mark Canada’s 150th anniversary on July 1, he made history by becoming the first Toronto Police officer to assume the role of citizenship court judge at a swearing-in ceremony for 31 immigrants at the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation Toronto Branch in North York.

“I have attended these ceremonies before as a guest, but to be called upon to be the judge is quite a humbling experience,” said Yuen. “This was extra-special because I got the chance to speak to newcomers and they got the opportunity to see the police in a different light.”

Born in Hong Kong, Yuen came to Canada with his family in 1975 and joined the Service 12 years later.

“When I came here as a young boy, I wouldn’t dare approach a police officer much less speak to one,” he said. “But things are different now and I told the new citizens this. The police are here to build relationships with the community. I also told them that if they work hard, they can pursue their dreams.”

Yuen said the new citizens were surprised that a police officer swore them in.

“They were obviously expecting a judge, but I stressed to them that policing in Canada is important and we are part of theircommunity,” he said.

TPS crest watermark