Order Amending the Canadian Passport Order: SI/2019-27
Canada Gazette, Part II, Volume 153, Number 11
SI/2019-27 May 29, 2019
OTHER THAN STATUTORY AUTHORITY
P.C. 2019-487 May 9, 2019
Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, makes the annexed Order Amending the Canadian Passport Order.
Order Amending the Canadian Passport Order
1 The heading before section 2 of the French version of the Canadian Passport Order footnote 1 is replaced by the following:
Définitions et interprétation
2 The Order is amended by adding the following after section 2.1:
2.2 (1) For greater certainty, the Minister may administer this Order using electronic means.
(2) For greater certainty, an electronic system, including an automated system, may be used by the Minister to make a decision under this Order.
3 Paragraph 4(4)(c) of the Order is replaced by the following:
- (c) the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness for the purposes of section 10.1, subsections 10.2(2), 10.3(2) and 10.4(2), section 10.5, subsection 11.1(2) and sections 11.3 and 11.31.
4 The Order is amended by adding the following after section 10.4:
10.5 Before revoking a passport, the Minister or the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, as the case may be, shall take reasonable measures to provide written notice of the decision to revoke the passport to the person to whom the passport was issued.
5 Subsection 11.1(3) of the Order is replaced by the following:
(3) The Minister or the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, as the case may be, may exercise the powers conferred by subsections (1) and (2) without notice if notification could
- (a) adversely affect an ongoing investigation;
- (b) adversely affect a child’s best interest;
- (c) defeat the purpose of the cancellation; or
- (d) adversely affect public safety or national security.
6 The Order is amended by adding the following after section 11.3:
11.31 If, after having reconsidered the cancellation of a passport, the Minister or the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, as the case may be, decides that the cancellation was unwarranted, a new passport bearing the same expiry date as the cancelled passport may be issued.
Coming into Force
7 This Order comes into force on the day on which it is registered.
(This note is not part of the Order.)
This Order Amending the Canadian Passport Order amends the Canadian Passport Order (the Order) to clarify issues around revocation and cancellation of passports and provide express authorities for the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to introduce automated processing and decision-making to the Passport Program.
The amendments address specific concerns raised by the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations (SJCSR) in relation to revocation and cancellation authorities.
Furthermore, the amendments introduce express authorities recommended to support the use of electronic tools and systems in the passport processing continuum, planned, among others, as part of the Passport Program Modernization Initiative (PPMI).
The Canadian Passport Order governs the issuance, refusal, cancellation and revocation of Canadian passports and the imposition of a period of refusal of passport services. The Order specifies application and eligibility requirements and identifies to whom passports may be issued.
Since 2015, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has been regularly corresponding with the SJCSR to discuss concerns regarding the transparency of processes and procedures around passport cancellation and revocation. In 2016, IRCC committed to making several minor amendments to clarify existing processes and procedures through which cancellation and revocation powers are exercised, to address the SJCSR’s concerns and to ensure transparency for Canadians.
IRCC is also committed to modernizing the Passport Program and to streamlining its business processes under the Passport Program Modernization Initiative. The PPMI is a complex, multi-year project focused on, among other things, transitioning the Passport Program to a new electronic platform and issuance system. The PPMI is expected to increase efficiency, strengthen integrity, and lay a solid foundation for the Passport Program to introduce future business improvements.
Amendments to the Order relating to the use of electronic tools and systems provide express legal authority to allow for the deployment of streamlined business practices planned under the PPMI and to allow the Passport Program to leverage the capability of the new issuance platform for rules-based automated decision-making.
The amendments to the Order focus on two areas:
1) Making technical clarifications to specific sections of the Order
A number of amendments have been suggested by the SJCSR to improve transparency regarding passport cancellation and revocation. To this end, amendments are being made to codify in the Order procedures that are already in place as part of IRCC’s and Public Safety Canada’s administrative decision-making processes. Specifically, these amendments will
- Clarify when notice of cancellation under section 11.1 of the Order will not be given;
- Clarify that a new passport with the same expiry date will be provided to the bearer if a cancellation is deemed unwarranted after an investigation or reconsideration; and
- Specify that the Minister will take reasonable steps to provide a person written notice before revoking a passport.
2) Establishing the legal framework necessary to support automation and automated decision-making in the Passport Program
This Order in Council will introduce provisions clarifying the authority of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration footnote 2 to: (i) administer the Order using electronic means; and, (ii) use an electronic system, including an automated system, to make a decision under the Order.
This Order in Council will support the introduction of new tools in the Passport Program that will help officers manage increasing passport application volumes. For example, the Passport Program will process passport applications electronically and use automated decision-making for routine, low-risk passport applications. Specifically, when IRCC launches its new passport issuance platform all passport applications will be run through a series of conditions and validations. Any applications that do not meet a condition will be automatically directed to an officer for review. This process will ensure that only low-risk, routine passport applications that pass all validations and conditions will be automatically approved by the system. All decisions to refuse, revoke, or cancel a passport will continue to be made by a passport officer. Likewise, all complex cases, first-time applications, and child passport applications will be directed to an officer for manual review and decision. In the near term, IRCC does not intend to use machine learning technology to automate passport eligibility and entitlement assessments and decisions as is being done for temporary resident visas.
The amendments to the Order will also support the submission of passport applications electronically, should an option for Canadians to submit passports digitally be made available in the future. Should the Passport Program introduce an option to submit passport applications electronically in the future, the Program would continue to allow passport applications to be sent by mail or be submitted in person.
The use of electronic tools and systems in the Passport Program is expected to introduce processing efficiencies that will contribute to the Program’s continued high performance in meeting its service standards as it faces increasing demand in coming years. The Passport Program currently meets its service standards at a rate of over 99%. The introduction of automation and automated decision-making will help the Passport Program to maintain this high standard as the first wave of 10-year passports begin to expire (and will require renewal) starting in 2023.
The amendments to the Order are not expected to result in any direct costs to the Government of Canada. Funding for the launch of new businesses processes and the transfer of the Passport Program to a new issuance platform was previously obtained through project as part of approvals for the PPMI. Furthermore, the PPMI is expected to achieve a minimum of $254 million (Can$) in cost avoidance over the 10-year period following full domestic deployment (2021–2031) as a result of more streamlined services and business processes.
There are no anticipated environmental impacts for the Government of Canada. Likewise, there are no anticipated impacts on Canada’s constitutional or modern treaty obligations.
The use of automated decision-making under the PPMI will be designed to align with the Directive on Automated Decision-Making to ensure that risks to Canadians and federal institutions are minimized, and that all decisions are efficient, accurate, consistent, interpretable, and made pursuant to Canadian law and the core principles of administrative law.
In alignment with the Directive, IRCC will ensure, among other things, that:
- The system will be tested for unintended data biases and, once launched, will be monitored for quality assurance to protect against unintended outcomes.
- Contingency systems/processes will be available if the automated system fails.
- Information on the effectiveness and efficiency of the system will be published annually as part of the Annual Passport Business Plan.
The proposed amendments do not limit Canadians’ right to procedural fairness or their ability to seek judicial review of passport decisions. In addition, details on the use of automation and automated decision-making will be included on the Passport Program website to ensure transparency for all Canadians.
Gender-based analysis plus
It is not expected that these amendments will result in any gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) implications. The proposed clarifications responding to concerns raised by the SJCSR merely clarify in the Order procedures that are already in place within the Passport Program regarding passport cancellation and revocation. In addition, the amendments related to automated tools and systems do not change the criteria used by passport officers to determine who is, and is not, entitled to passport services. Entitlement, as defined by the Order, is not influenced or restricted by considerations relating to gender or other intersectional identity factors associated with GBA+.
The use of electronic systems and tools in the Passport Program is likewise not expected to have differential impacts on the basis of GBA+ factors such as sex, gender, age, ethnicity, etc.
The introduction of automation and automated decision-making in the Passport Program will not impact efforts underway to introduce an “X” gender identifier in Canadian passports. If/when a passport application displaying an “X” gender identifier is eligible for simplified renewal, the “X” gender identifier will not have any bearing on the evaluation of the passport application for passport eligibility or entitlement.
Consultations were held with Public Safety Canada and the Department of Justice. Both departments were supportive of this initiative and no objections were raised regarding this proposal during these consultations.
Employment and Social Development Canada endorsed the new passport service delivery model, which includes automated processing, and were consulted on amendments to the Order.
Regarding consultations with the public, details describing the Passport Program Modernization Initiative project and its objectives are publicly available on the Government of Canada’s external website, in Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s 2017-2018 Departmental Plan.
In addition, a notice of intent outlining the Government’s intent to introduce new authorities around electronic tools and systems was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on March 2, 2019, for a 15-day public comment period. No comments from the public were received.
These amendments will come into force upon registration.
Passport Program Policy
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
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