On July 2, 2013, Canada’s passport program became part of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Service Canada assumed responsibility for passport operations including the network of passport offices. As mandated by the Canadian Passport Order, responsibilities of the passport program include issuing, refusing to issue, revoking, withholding, recovering, and providing instructions on the use of Canadian passports.
Canadians can access passport services through a variety of service channels. Completed applications can be mailed to Passport Canada headquarters or submitted in person at one of 34 regional offices or one of some 190 receiving agent locations. Some clients also opt to send their application to their Member of Parliament. Over 95 percent of Canadians in Canada live within 100 km of a passport point of service.
The Passport Program also works in partnership with Government of Canada offices abroad to provide travel document services to Canadians who travel or live outside of Canada.
How passports are funded
The Passport Program operates on a cost-recovery basis which means its operations are funded from the fees paid by passport applicants. Passports are not subsidized by Parliament. Only those who apply for a passport actually pay for the service.
Until July 1, 2013, other than a small $2 CAD increase to reflect shipping costs in 2005, the passport fee had not changed since 2001. However, the cost of producing the passport has continued to climb due to inflation, rent increases, information technology, salaries and utilities. Passport Canada was juggling financial pressures while maintaining quality client service and producing a passport that is secure, tamper resistant, respected by other countries, and compliant with international standards and best practices.
The passport fee for adults in Canada is $120 CAD for a 5-year passport and $160 CAD for a 10-year passport. The $25 CAD consular services fee paid by all adult applicants does not go to the Passport Program. It is used to fund consular services for Canadians overseas.
The passport fee for all children aged 0 to 15 in Canada is $57 CAD. No consular fee is charged for a child’s passport. The fee for a child’s passport is much lower than the cost to produce the passport but is subsidized by adult passport fees. The cost to produce a child passport is actually higher than the cost to produce an adult passport due to required verifications such as in cases where parental custody must be examined.
Commitment to quality
Over the past decade, Passport Canada has grown to meet new security needs and a much higher demand for passports from Canadians. Our application forms, the way we process applications and the technology we use have all been updated. This has allowed us to make the process easier for Canadians while maintaining high standards of security and more than doubling the number of passports issued.
We handle more than twice as many passport applications now as we did 10 years ago. This includes many more applications for children since the “one person, one passport” standard was put in place to help combat international child trafficking. Child applications take more time and effort to process due to custody questions and because children do not have the same range of identity documents as adults.
To keep up with the rapid growth in demand and evolving international standards, we have hired more staff to verify applications, conduct reference checks, and serve the public. We are using more sophisticated technology and have increased our ability to forecast passport demand so that we can adjust our operations accordingly and maintain service levels.
The expansion of our points of service network has played a major role in responding to higher client demand. In 2000, there were 29 points of service where Canadians could apply for a passport in person. We now have more than 200 service locations across the country.
We recognize that the best way to respond to higher volumes and tougher security standards without compromising service is to simplify processes and use technology to improve efficiency. Some examples:
- Eligible Canadians can now renew their passport through a simpler renewal process.
- The guarantor no longer has to belong to a designated professional group, as long as the individual has known the applicant for at least two years and holds a valid Canadian passport. There are some exceptions but this change has made the process simpler for most Canadians while maintaining the necessary security checks.
- Canadians can access online forms that prompt applicants to enter correct information in the right place. Consequently, the applicant can be more confident that the submitted application is complete. The form includes a bar code that captures a digital version of the personal information entered into the form. This speeds up data entry and helps reduce the number of applicant errors.
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