Canadians will soon be able renew their passports online as the federal government showcased an all-new passport design that has been a decade in the making.
Immigration Minister Sean Fraser and Social Development Minister Karina Gould unveiled the redesigned passport at the Ottawa International Airport on Wednesday morning.
The passport has been updated from cover to cover with new artwork and improved security features, Fraser said.
“The new security features are going to help ensure Canadian passports remain one of the most secure, reliable and universally accepted travel documents anywhere in the world,” he said.
The printing of the new Canadian passports is set for the summer and will be rolled out over the next year, federal ministers said.
And starting this fall, Canadians will be able to submit online applications for their passport renewal.
In the months ahead, some Canadians will still continue to receive the older version of the passport, which remains secure and reliable, Gould said.
“We still have existing stock of the previous generation and so we don’t need everybody rushing out to go get this new passport,” she said.
Those who have recently been issued a passport will continue to carry that until its expires.
The new passport will look different than the current one that was released in 2013.
Besides a new cover design with an outline of a maple leaf, the insides pages feature artwork highlighting Canada’s diverse people, landscapes, wildlife and four seasons that only appear in ultraviolet light.
The new security features include a polycarbonate data page, which is the same technology that’s used to in the Canadian currency and driver’s license.
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“Additionally, passport holders’ personal information will now be laser engraved instead of being printed with ink, which is going to make the data page more durable and resistant to tampering and counterfeiting,” said Fraser.
Inside, a visible passport chip and antenna have been added to help confirm the validity of your passport and keep the information secure.
Some other features include a kinegram over the main photo that changes colours and appears to move when seen from different angles.
This passport redesign began in 2013 to prevent counterfeiting by integrating new and more modern security features and design techniques, IRCC said.
The federal government says it has resumed processing domestic passport applications after nearly two weeks of disruptions due to the public servants’ strike that ended on May 1.
The passport program was significantly curtailed during the Public Service Alliance of Canada strike and Canadians were told not to apply as essential workers at the time were not allowed to open and process passport applications.
The only exceptions were for people experiencing humanitarian or emergency situations, such as travel for economically essential work, medical services abroad, to see a critically ill family member or in the event of a death in the family, Gould told Global News in an interview on the West Block last month.
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On Wednesday, she said Service Canada was playing catch up as a result of the labour disruptions.
“We did lose a week of processing time, so there may be some longer lineups and processing times during this recovery. However, we have yet to see this and we are fully prepared.”
The Canadian passport is ranked 26th globally, according to the Passport Index. Canadian passport holders can get visa-free entry into 115 countries and can get a visa on arrival in 51 countries.
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