Administrative decision process for the refusal or revocation of passport services
Table of contents
Passport Canada issues secure Canadian travel documents through the authentication of identity and entitlement, for the purpose of facilitating travel and contributing to international and domestic security. To safeguard the security, value and integrity of Canadian passports, the Minister of Foreign Affairs authorizes Passport Canada to issue, refuse to issue, revoke, recover and monitor the use of its passports and travel documents, including imposing a period of refusal of passport services pursuant to the Canadian Passport Order, SI/81-86, as amended (Order).
This authority also extends to the following travel documents issued by Passport Canada: diplomatic, special and temporary passports, emergency travel documents (ETD), refugee travel documents (RTD) and certificates of identity (COI).
Canadian passports and travel documents are issued in the exercise of the royal prerogative, and Passport Canada exercises its delegated authority in accordance with the Order. Section 3(c) of the Order stipulates that the passport remains, at all times, the property of the Government of Canada. Therefore, a passport is issued provided that the bearer:
- as the custodian of the property of the Government, take all reasonable measures to safeguard the document;
- be the only one who uses the document issued in his or her name,
- limit its use to the purposes for which the document, in his or her name, has been issued, and
- as stipulated under sections 3(d) and 11 of the Order, return the document without delay on request.
In relation to passports issued in the name of a child under 16 years of age, the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of the child are considered to be the custodian(s) of the passport issued in the name of the child, and he/she/they assume these responsibilities on behalf of the child.
The following provides an overview of the investigation and decision-making process in cases where an individual’s entitlement to passport services is under review by Passport Canada.
Information in possession of Passport Canada, gathered upon the submission of a passport application or as part of an ongoing entitlement review process, is subject to validation and verification by Passport Canada. Upon initial review of any information in its possession, Passport Canada may request the submission of additional information and conduct further verifications, in accordance with section 8 of the Order. If upon additional review of the accumulated information, Passport Canada has reason to believe that grounds for refusing to issue, or to revoke a passport, exist under the Order, an investigation may be launched by Passport Canada’s Security Bureau.
An investigation undertaken by Passport Canada aims at determining whether the passport applicant, or the bearer, may be subject to the refusal or revocation provisions of the Order. In compliance with Passport Canada’s administrative decision process for the refusal or revocation of passport services and the principles of procedural fairness, individuals under investigation are provided with written correspondence outlining the information obtained during the course of our investigation and are invited to submit any additional information for consideration by Passport Canada.
Grounds for investigation fall under sections 4, 9, and 10 of the Order and the decision-making processes are in accordance with the following categories of passport-related events or incidents:
The category one decision process relates to investigations into any of the following incidents where an individual is deemed to have:
provided false or misleading information in the passport application process;
failed to provide Passport Canada with a duly-completed application, or with the required or requested information and material;
used 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;
permitted another person to use the passport or travel document;
obtained a passport by means of false or misleading information.
The category two decision process relates to investigations into any of the following incidents where an individual:
is not a Canadian citizen;
is charged in Canada with committing an indictable offence, or is charged outside Canada with committing any offence that would, if committed in Canada, constitute an indictable offence;
is imprisoned or otherwise forbidden to leave Canada, or being abroad, is imprisoned or otherwise forbidden to leave that country;
is subject to conditions imposed by a court that have the effect of preventing possession of a passport;
has been convicted of a passport or travel document offence under the Criminal Code or the equivalent abroad.
The category three decision process relates to investigations where an individual:
is deemed to be involved in matters of, or a threat to, national security.
Depending on the nature of the passport-related events or circumstances being investigated, more than one decision-making process may be applicable during an investigation. Individuals under investigation will be advised by Passport Canada concerning the decision-making process (or processes) that is being applied during an investigation.
Once an investigation has concluded, the Passport Canada decision maker considers all information obtained during the course of the investigation, including any written submissions from the individual under investigation and renders a written decision. As Passport Canada investigations are administrative in nature, decisions are made on a balance of probabilities test (more likely to be true than not true). 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 for a criminal investigation. When a decision is rendered to revoke, or to refuse to issue, 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 by Passport Canada:
Issuance of a full or limited validity passport.
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 for up to five years.
Refusal to issue a passport, or revocation of a passport, without further refusal of passport services, such as in the case of a passport application for a child, or a passport issued to a child; Passport Canada does not normally impose long-term sanctions against children in these cases.
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, such as in the case of mobility restrictions imposed by the courts.
Immediate refusal to issue a passport, or immediate invalidation of a passport, where immediate action must be taken, such as in the case of an individual who is subject to a Canada-wide warrant or an individual who is determined to be a non-Canadian or an impostor.
Refusal of a request for passport services under urgent, compelling and compassionate considerations for individuals under investigation or during a period of refusal of passport services.
Refusal period for passport services
A refusal period for passport services is a sanction that is usually intended to deter 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, usually five years, to be calculated from the date of the incident that led to the investigation, or any other relevant date as specified by Passport Canada. Nevertheless, Passport Canada may take into consideration the co-operation of individuals under investigation in determining the duration period for refusal of passport services.
Request for passport services under urgent, compelling and compassionate considerations
During an investigation, or a period of refusal of passport services, Passport Canada will consider a request for a passport with limited validity and geographical limitations based on urgent, compelling and compassionate considerations, such as life threatening illness or death in the family. Such a request will only be considered on the submission of a duly completed passport application at any Passport Canada issuing office or any Government of Canada office abroad. A signed, detailed statement, describing the urgent, compelling and compassionate circumstances that precipitated the request, as well as the documentary evidence supporting this statement, must be submitted. In cases where the refusal period for passport services is imposed as a result of court-imposed restrictions or legal proceedings, written authorization from the court, supervising officer or any other person or officer as applicable is required. Please note that additional documentation may also be required.
Challenging a decision
Decisions made by Passport Canada are considered final as of the date the decision is rendered. Individuals who choose to challenge a decision may do so by filing an application for judicial review before the Federal Court of Canada within thirty (30) days of the date of the decision.
- Date modified: