There are two categories of people who ask this question. First group immigrated to Canada by applying to one of well known immigration programs. People went through this lengthy process, met all the permanent resident requirements, possibly even had an interview with an immigration officer and now are residing in this country questioning the details of the eligibility criteria. They already have some sense of how this process works, they know it may take some time to be called to the citizenship exam. Most of the time, this category has a set of specific questions when they ask how to get Canadian citizenship.
The other type of potential applicants are the people residing overseas having absolutely no idea about any immigration procedures. This group of people would not know how time consuming is the process and what eligibility requirements would be. The obvious advice to give is to follow the first category of people and become permanent residents and then apply for Canadian citizenship. This advice would apply to most applicants however there are exceptions and here they are:
If you were born outside Canada and at least one of your parents was born in Canada.
If you were born outside Canada and at least one of your parents was naturalized in Canada before your birth.
If you became a citizen because of changes to the Citizenship Act.
Again, this would apply only to selected individuals, but majority of people would need to become permanent residents first.
The first category of people who is residing in Canada should have no issues applying for Canadian citizenship as long as their PR status is not in question. There is a residency requirement of 1460 days during the six years. Again, people who reside in Canada and do not spend much time overseas, meet this requirement easily.
For the first time in all these years, applicants need to pass English exam in order to be eligible to apply. In most cases CLB 4 is adequate English requirement but for older folks it may be a challenge. If a person is 55 years old, he would have difficult time learning English or French. The language requirement applies to everyone from 14 to 64. There is still the citizenship test which is in English. Any candidate would need to understand the questions in order to answer them.
One of the most common questions is how fast can anyone become a Canadian citizen? Obviously, there is no right or wrong answer. It all depends how fast you receive your PR and how soon you apply for citizenship but usually within six to ten years it is possible to complete this journey of an immigrant.
This information is not intended to be a complete guide to PR or citizenship. Please review the official source at www.cic.gc.ca.