Use of Office of Protocol Identity Cards

Circular Note No. XDC-0625 of April 3, 2009

Features of the DFAIT Protocol Identity Card (PDF Version, 1 MB)Footnote *

The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (Office of Protocol) presents its compliments to Their Excellences the Heads of Diplomatic Missions and notified Chargés d’affaires, a.i. accredited to Canada, and to the Heads of International Organizations and other offices established in Canada, and has the honour to clarify the privileges and responsibilities of foreign representatives and members of their families with regard to the identity card issued to them upon accreditation.

The Department requests that the content of this Note be transmitted to all members of diplomatic and consular representations, international organizations and other offices.

Who may ask to see the identity card?

Holders of an identity card from the Department attesting to their diplomatic, consular or other status are required to present the card in the following instances:

  • when asked for identification by the police and other law enforcement agencies;
  • for customs clearance of goods imported for personal use Memorandum D21-1-1;
  • to benefit from provincial tax exemption for retail purchases of taxable goods and/or services, provided that the back of the card indicates that the cardholder is exempted;Footnote 1
  • to request a social insurance number (SIN) or replacement of a social insurance card, only in the case of “members of the family forming part of the household” of foreign representatives duly authorized by the Department to engage in paid work;
  • for school enrolment in cases where the institution requests it.

Who may request the identity card number or a copy of the card?

Holders of an identity card from the Department attesting to their diplomatic, consular or other status are normally required to provide the card number or a copy of the card in the following instances:

When is the identity card holder not required to present the card?

Because the identity card is neither an entry document for Canada nor a stay document, the Department recommends that the cardholder not present it at air, land or sea ports of entry upon re-entry to Canada, unless expressly asked to do so by the authorities. The passport, which contains the diplomatic, consular or official acceptance issued by the Office of Protocol, is the primary document required at the point of entry.

However, it may happen that a law enforcement agency at the point of entry, such as the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), asks an individual who has already presented his or her diplomatic, consular or official acceptance, to provide additional identification (such as a driver’s licence, health insurance card, or identity card from the Office of Protocol). Please inform the Department of all such cases. The information provided in this regard may be examined and validated and could even prove useful for awareness and training purposes.

Unauthorized use of the identity card and good practices

The identity card may not be used to:

  • obtain a tax exemption on goods and services (GST), the harmonized sales tax (HST) or the gas excise tax at the point of purchase;
  • obtain a social insurance number (SIN) in the case of the foreign representatives themselves;
  • obtain access to government programs and services, including benefit programs, which are not intended for the diplomatic community.

The identity card is not transferable, even to a family member. Further, the identity card holder is responsible for taking the necessary steps to protect the card and keep it in a safe place. Because the card contains personal information, it could, if stolen, be used fraudulently to obtain access to a whole range of services and information. This could have serious consequences. The loss or theft of identity cards must be reported to the Department in accordance with its Circular Note XDC-1404 of June 26, 2000.

Questions

Diplomatic missions, international organizations and other offices requiring clarification or additional information concerning this Note may direct their inquiries to the Office of Protocol by:

Email: Office of Protocol
Telephone: 613-944-0096
Fax: 613-943-1075.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (Office of Protocol) avails itself of this opportunity to renew to their Excellencies the Heads of Diplomatic Missions and notified Chargés d’Affaires, a.i. accredited to Canada and Heads of International Organizations and other offices established in Canada, the assurances of its highest consideration.

OTTAWA, April 3, 2009

Footnotes

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Footnote 1

The back of the ID Card lists the acronym of provinces where the card holder is exempt from paying provincial tax. If retail sales tax is payable at point of purchase in each Canadian province, the expression “NO TAX EXEMPTION” will be inserted.

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