Passport Canada was an independent operating agency of the Government of Canada with bureaucratic oversight provided through Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. It operated under the auspices of the Canadian Passport Order which defines the agency. Prior to June 2006, it was formerly known as the Passport Office.
Passport Canada was responsible for issuing, revoking, withholding, and recovering Canadian passports, and it was the sole issuer of them (except for emergency and temporary passports that may be issued by a Canadian mission abroad). It operated under the auspices of the Canadian Passport Order which defined the agency.
Due to the agency's status as a Special Operating Agency, Passport Canada was financed through the fees collected for issuing passports and other travel documents. It did not receive direct funding from the federal government.
Passport Canada became defunct on 1 July 2013, after the amended Canadian Passport Order came into effect. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada replaced Passport Canada as the passport issuing authority on that date.
Canadian Passport Order
The Canadian Passport Order was an Order in Council made under the authority of the royal prerogative. First passed in 1981, it has been amended several times. Under the previous Canadian Passport Regulations, which the Order superseded, residents of Canada could obtain a passport by completing an application and sending it in by mail to the Department of External Affairs without having to prove their Canadian citizenship.
It specifies who is eligible for a Canadian passport, as well as the procedure and application process for obtaining one. Under the Order, the Governor-in-Council has the authority to revoke or refuse a passport on grounds specified in the Order. A passport may not be refused or revoked on grounds not specified in the Order (see Rights to a passport).
The Order established the Passport Office (later Passport Canada) as a special operating agency to oversee the distribution of passports to Canadian citizens. Following amendments in 2013, Passport Canada was dissolved and responsibilities for issuing Canadian passports were transferred to the Passport Program of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
Auditor General's Report
In April 2005, the Auditor General of Canada Sheila Fraser gave a scathing report on Passport Canada, writing that employees of the agency lack proper security clearance. Prior to the Auditor General's report, Passport Canada had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Corrections Canada to obtain a full list of inmates' names, as they are ineligible for a passport.
Follow-up reports were issued in 2007 – which noted continuing control issues – and 2009 – where satisfactory progress was observed, especially in light of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative introduced by the United States.
- Canadian Passport
- Canadian nationality law
- Canadian Security Intelligence Service
- Canada Border Services Agency
- Five Nations Passport Group
- "Canadian Passport Order, Version of document from 2013-03-27 to 2013-07-01".
- "Canadian Passport Order, Version of document from 2006-03-22 to 2006-06-27".
- "Directory of Canadian Government Offices Abroad".
- "Canadian Passport Order".
- "History of passports". Passport Canada.
- "2005 April Report of the Auditor General of Canada - Chapter 3—Passport Office—Passport Services". Auditor General of Canada. April 2005.
- "2007 February Status Report of the Auditor General of Canada - Chapter 3—Passport Services—Passport Canada". Auditor General of Canada. February 2007.
- "2009 March Status Report of the Auditor General of Canada - Chapter 5—Passport Services—Passport Canada". Auditor General of Canada. March 2009.