Passport Canada – New Guarantor Policy and Directive on Loss of Citizenship (section 8 of the Citizenship Act)

Executive Summary

Passport Canada is a Special Operating Agency of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada and its mission is to issue internationally respected passports. Canadian passports are issued in the exercise of the Royal prerogative. Under the Canadian Passport Order (the Order) found at Department of Justice – Table of Contents, the Minister has charged Passport Canada with the authority to issue, refuse, revoke, withhold, recover and monitor the use of passports. The Minister's charge clearly embraces the duty to safeguard the security and integrity of the issuance process, as well as the security, integrity and value to the holder of the Canadian passport. Thus, Passport Canada monitors the passport issuance process and passport use and determines whether the entitlement requirements of the Order are being met or contravened at the time of issuance or at any time during the validity period of the passport.

Receiving Agents

Due to volume pressures and points of presence across Canada, Passport Canada has engaged the services of two Canadian Federal institutions. These are the Canada Post Corporation (CPC) and Service Canada. Canada Post is a crown agency that reports to the Minister of Transport Canada. Service Canada is an initiative within Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC). The role of Service Canada (SC) is to provide a one–stop–shop to Canadians.

Departments and agencies are able to outsource some of their service delivery to CPC and SC as service brokers, due to their points of presence across Canada. Passport Canada has signed Memoranda of Understanding with both organizations, as Receiving Agents. Additional amendments to the Passport Order have provided further authority to Service Canada to perform some of the delegated responsibilities.

As receiving agents, both CPC and SC agents are responsible for receiving passport applications from Canadians who choose that service option. Receiving Agents will review the application for completeness (every section of the form, photos, citizenship evidence and other documentary evidence included) and collect the fees on behalf of Passport Canada.

What’s New

Passport Canada introduced two new policies that are reflected on its Passport Application Forms. These new policies are the new Guarantor Policy and the Loss of Canadian Citizenship pursuant to section 8 of the Citizenship Act policy. The new Guarantor Policy enables Canadian passport holders (with some restriction, not all Canadian Passport Holder may act as Guarantor) to be a guarantor for a new passport applicant in Canada and in the USA, and the Directive on Policy regarding Loss of Citizenship provides a public service to inform Canadians that are impacted by Section 8 of the 1977 Citizenship Act, which states “Where a person who was born outside Canada after February 14, 1977 is a Canadian citizen for the reason that at the time of birth, one of his parents was a citizen by virtue of paragraph 3(1)(b) or (e), that person ceases to be a citizen on attaining the age of twenty–eight years unless that person (a) makes application to retain citizenship; and (b) registers as a citizen and either resides in Canada for a period of at least one year immediately preceding the date of his application or establishes a substantial connection with Canada.”

Passport Canada’s two new policies are the new Guarantor Policy and the Loss of Citizenship Policy via the distribution of directives, and then transfer the information into the Passport Policy Manual. These two policies have caused Passport Canada to enhance its Passport Application forms to reflect the requirements of these two policies. The new Guarantor policy is reflected on the Children Application form and Adult General Passport Application for Canadians 16 years of age or over (in Canada and in the USA). The policy on section 8 is reflected on the:

  • Adult General Passport Application for Canadians 16 years of age or over (in Canada and in the USA)
  • Adult Passport Application for Canadians 16 years of age of over (abroad)
  • Adult simplified renewal application form

New Guarantor Policy

The Canadian passport issuing system was originally patterned after the British system, including the requirement that a passport application must be signed by a guarantor. This requirement is reflected in Passport Canada’s Guarantor Policy as provided in Chapter 11 of the Passport Policy Manual.

A guarantor is an independent third party who certifies to the best of his or her knowledge the information contained on the application form and the identity of the applicant shown in the photograph. The guarantor serves as a security measure in the entitlement process and as a point of departure for the future investigation of statements made on the application form.

A comprehensive review of the guarantor policy was undertaken in 1969 by the Royal Commission on Security. The Royal Commission recommended that the guarantor system be retained and that pressures to extend the ability to act as guarantor to additional groups of persons should be resisted.

Historically, two criteria have been used to assess the appropriateness of the list of professional or occupational groups eligible to act as guarantors. The first criterion is to ensure that all applicants have reasonable access to a guarantor, and the second is to ensure that the guarantor’s eligibility can be readily verified by Passport Canada. For verification purposes, Passport Canada attempted to obtain membership directories of those professional or occupational groups eligible to serve as guarantors in order to validate their eligibility as guarantors.

In the last ten years, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom have amended their guarantor policies to include valid passport holders as acceptable guarantors, and Australia has eliminated the use of professional or occupational groups entirely. The changes were made to streamline the issuing process, thus increasing productivity while reducing costs. The increased information pertaining to the guarantor available through passport records, including a sample of the guarantor’s signature, serves to assist in fraud detection, and public acceptance is reported to be very high. Note that the United States does not utilize a guarantor system.

The requirement that guarantors be professionals continually generated complaints from the public who perceived the policy to be elitist, and from professionals who were not included in the eligible list. The evolution of professions has created many ambiguous areas, making eligibility difficult to determine, both for the public and Passport Canada. Many groups did not provide Passport Canada with membership directories, requiring Passport Canada staff to contact the association or licensing body to verify the guarantor’s eligibility.

Passport Canada has developed and put in place a new Guarantor Policy (general passport application stream in Canada and in the USA only), which eliminates the use of members of professional or occupational groups. The new Guarantor Policy permits holders of valid Canadian passport to act as guarantors. This policy modification serves to meet Passport Canada’s continuing commitment to meet the needs of clients better through the development and introduction of modernized and practical policies.

The verification of guarantor eligibility is simplified and more secure, as this can be verified using Passport Canada’s own records, thereby increasing the security and efficiency of the process.

Directive on Loss of Citizenship pursuant to section 8 of the Citizenship Act

Effective October 1, 2007, the following policy applies to applicants who are subject to loss of citizenship pursuant to section 8 of the Citizenship Act.

Policy

When an applicant is determined to be subject to section 8 of the Citizenship Act and has not retained citizenship, the following provisions apply:

  1. If the 28th birthday has passed, no passport shall be issued.
  2. If the 28th birthday is in less than five years, a limited validity passport may be issued valid until the day before the applicant’s 28th birthday.
  3. If the 28th birthday is in more than five years, a full–validity passport may be issued as per a standard application.

Notes:

  1. No passport application shall be refused and no limited validity passport shall be issued to an applicant without confirmation of the applicant’s citizenship status with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). This does not apply to applicants who submit a certificate of Canadian citizenship issued after January 1, 2007.
  2. A certificate of citizenship issued after January 1, 2007, which does not contain an expiry date can be taken as confirmation that either an applicant is not subject to section 8 or has successfully retained citizenship.
  3. This policy applies only to Canadians who have been issued a certificate of Canadian citizenship in the past. If an applicant has never been issued a certificate of Canadian citizenship, he/she is to be referred to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to obtain a certificate of citizenship. CIC will not be able to confirm whether or not an applicant is subject to section 8 if the applicant has never been issued a certificate of Canadian citizenship in the past.

Background

Since 2005, some Canadians have started to lose their citizenship due to a provision of the Citizenship Act of 1977, i.e. section 8 that stipulates:

Where a person who was born outside Canada after February 14, 1977 is a Canadian citizen for the reason that at the time of birth, one of his parents was a citizen by virtue of paragraph 3(1)(b) or (e), that person ceases to be a citizen on attaining the age of twenty–eight years unless that person

  1. makes application to retain citizenship; and
  2. registers as a citizen and either resides in Canada for a period of at least one year immediately preceding the date of his application or establishes a substantial connection with Canada.

Section 8 applies to a person who was born outside Canada on or after February 15, 1977, to a Canadian parent who:

  • Was born abroad between January 1, 1947, and February 14, 1977, who, although eligible to, did not register as a Canadian citizen until on or after February 15, 1977, OR
  • Was born abroad on or after February 15, 1977, to a Canadian parent.

Those not affected by section 8 are people born in Canada, people born outside of Canada who acquired citizenship by naturalization or people born abroad to Canadian parents, one of whom:

  • was born in Canada.
  • was granted citizenship before the individual was born (e.g. parent became a citizen following immigration).
  • before February 15, 1977, took steps to retain citizenship or register as a Canadian citizen born abroad.

Since January 2007, Citizenship and Immigration Canada has been issuing certificates of citizenship containing an expiry date to Canadian who will lose their citizenship upon their 28th birthday unless they retain it successfully.

However, not all applicants who could lose their citizenship due to this provision have been issued a certificate with an expiry date. In addition, some Canadians might not be aware of the provision and its consequences. Therefore, and in accordance with its obligations under the Canadian Passport Order, PPTC has taken steps to identify these Canadians in order to avoid issuing a passport to a non–Canadian citizen.

In doing so, PPTC has focussed on minimizing the impact both on its own operations and on the applicants. This is why two new questions on citizenship have been added to the Adult General Passport Application and that PPTC 001 “Proof of Canadian Citizenship – Additional Information” will be filled out only by a limited number of applicants.

Scope of Privacy Impact Assessment

Passport Canada has developed a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) on this subject. The scope of the PIA did not encompass the Entitlement process, which is validation of personal information collected and examination of the individual’s eligibility to receive a Canadian Passport. The PIA covered the collection of personal information from the time of completing a passport application form to its acceptance for referral to the Entitlement process.

Risk Analysis Segment

The following is a summary of risks and mitigation strategies identified as a result of the Privacy Impact Assessment process.

  • The Privacy Impact Assessment process found no privacy risks associated with the adoption and use of the new Guarantor Policy.
  • The privacy Impact Assessment process found no privacy risks associated with the adoption and use of the Directive on Loss of Citizenship.
    1. Accountability
      No risk identified.

    2. Purpose
      No risk identified.

    3. Consent
      No risk identified.

    4. Collection
      No risk identified.

    5. Use, Disclosure and Retention
      No risk identified.

    6. Accuracy
      No risk identified.

    7. Safeguarding
      No risk identified.

    8. Openness
      No risk identified.

    9. Individual Access
      No risk identified.

    10. Challenging Compliance
      No risk identified.