Administrative decision process for the cancellation and revocation of passports and the refusal of passport services

The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship is responsible for the Passport Program and has the authorities laid out in the Canadian Passport Order. As of June 23, 2015 in cases involving national security and the prevention of terrorism offences, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness has the authority to determine whether to cancel, refuse to issue or revoke a passport and to impose a refusal period for passport services. The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship will put these decisions into practice.

Introduction

The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship issues secure Canadian passports through the authentication of identity and entitlement for the purpose of facilitating travel and contributing to international and domestic security.

As defined in the Canadian Passport Order, SI/81-86 (the Order), the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship is responsible for issuing, refusing to issue, revoking and cancelling Canadian passports. The Minister is also responsible for imposing a period of refusal of passport services of up to 10 years. The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness is responsible for these decisions when the reason for the decision relates to national security or terrorism.

The passport remains, at all times, the property of the Government of Canada, and a passport bearer must:

  • take all reasonable measures to safeguard the passport;
  • be the only one who uses the passport issued in his or her name;
  • limit the passport’s use to the purposes for which it was issued; and
  • return the passport without delay on request.

The parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of a child under 16 years of age are considered to be the custodian of the passport issued in the name of the child and assume all responsibilities related to the passport issued in their child’s name.

The following provides an overview of the investigation and decision-making process in cases where a person’s entitlement to passport services is under review. Throughout any process, the individual involved will be kept informed of the status of their file and, if applicable, the appropriate recourse or reconsideration mechanism available to them.

Investigations for refusal to issue and revocation (General)

Information possessed by the Passport Program, gathered upon the submission of a passport application or as part of an ongoing entitlement review process, is subject to validation and verification. Upon initial review of any information in its possession, the Passport Program may request the submission of additional information and conduct further verifications in accordance with section 8 of the Order. Upon additional review of the accumulated information, if the Passport Program believes that grounds for refusing to issue or revoking a passport may exist under the Order, an investigation may be launched.

Depending on the nature of the passport-related events or circumstances being investigated, more than one decision-making process or section of the Order may be applicable during an investigation.

Category one

The category one decision process relates to investigations into any of the following incidents:

  • a person provides false or misleading information in the passport application process;
  • a person fails to provide a duly completed application or the required or requested information and material;
  • a person uses the passport to assist in committing an indictable offence in Canada or, if committed abroad, an offence that would constitute an indictable offence if committed in Canada;
  • a person permits another person to use the passport;
  • a person obtains a passport by means of false or misleading information; or
  • reasonable grounds exist to believe that the refusal or revocation is necessary to prevent the commission of an offence in relation to sexual offences against children outside Canada.

Category two

The category two decision process relates to investigations into any of the following incidents:

  • a person is not a Canadian citizen;
  • a person is charged in Canada with committing an indictable offence or is charged outside Canada with committing any offence that would constitute an indictable offence if committed in Canada;
  • a person is imprisoned or otherwise forbidden to leave Canada or, being abroad, is imprisoned or otherwise forbidden to leave that country;
  • a person is subject to conditions imposed by a court that have the effect of preventing possession of a passport;
  • a person has been convicted of a passport offence under the Criminal Code or the equivalent abroad; or
  • a person holds a passport that has not expired or been revoked.

Decisions on categories one and two

Once an investigation has concluded, a decision-maker considers all information obtained during the course of the investigation, including any written submissions from the person under investigation, and renders a written decision.

These administrative investigations are not to be confused with criminal investigations; although, in some cases, the information gathered during the course of an administrative investigation may be referred to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or other law enforcement agencies for a criminal investigation. When a decision is rendered to refuse to issue a passport or to revoke a passport, a subsequent decision on the duration of the refusal of passport services may also be made.

The following are types of decisions that may be rendered:

  • issuance of a full or limited-validity travel document (LVTD);
  • return of a passport to its true bearer;
  • refusal to issue a passport or revocation of a passport, including a subsequent period of refusal of passport services of up to 10 years;
  • refusal to issue a passport or revocation of a passport without further refusal of passport services;
  • refusal to issue a passport or revocation of a passport, including a refusal of subsequent passport services pending the resolution of criminal proceedings or the completion of a sentence;
  • refusal of a request for passport services under urgent, compelling and compassionate considerations during a period of refusal of passport services or for individuals under investigation.

Challenging a decision

Revocation of Passports and Refusal of Passport Services

Refusal and revocation decisions made by the Passport Program are considered final as of the date the decision is rendered. A person who chooses to challenge a decision may do so by filing an application for judicial review before the Federal Court of Canada within 30 days of the date of the decision.

Cancellation of Passports

Cancellation decisions made by the Minister under section 11.1(1) of the Order, which relates to sexual offences against children outside Canada, may be reconsidered. The person to whom the passport was issued may apply in writing, within 30 days of the day on which the person becomes aware that the passport is cancelled, to the Minister to have the cancellation reconsidered.

The Minister will give the person a reasonable opportunity to make representations and will subsequently decide if there are still reasonable grounds to cancel the passport.

A person who chooses to challenge a reconsideration decision may do so by filing an application for appeal before the Federal Court of Canada within 30 days of the date of the decision.

Investigations for refusal to issue, revocation, and cancellation (National security)

For more detailed information about the cancellation, refusal and revocation of passport services under national security grounds or related to terrorism, please see: national security

Refusal period for passport services

A refusal period for passport services is an administrative measure that is usually intended to prevent individuals from abusing the Canadian passport or the application process. Generally, after a decision has been rendered to refuse to issue or to revoke a passport, a period of refusal of passport services is implemented and may last up to 10 years from the date of the incident that led to the investigation or from another relevant date. A decision-maker may take into consideration the cooperation of a person under investigation and all information gathered during the course of the investigation, when determining the duration period for refusal of passport services.

Request for passport services under urgent, compelling and compassionate considerations

The Passport Program will consider issuing, in special circumstances, a limited-validity travel document (LVTD) to an individual who is subject to an entitlement investigation or a period of refusal of passport services. An LVTD with geographical limitations may be issued to the applicant, provided the Passport Program is satisfied that the reason for the request is urgent, compelling and compassionate. For more detailed information about the request for passport services under urgent, compelling and compassionate grounds, please see: Request for limited-validity travel document under urgent, compelling and compassionate considerations.

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