Recent suggestions in media reports that passport security has in any way been compromised are completely incorrect. The Canadian passport is, and will remain, one of the most secure travel documents in the world.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has been moving towards an increasingly integrated and modernized working environment across many of its business lines, including the passport program.
CIC and our partner Service Canada are moving our passport service to a modern, sustainable information technology platform. A key objective is to improve service to our clients and, above all, maintain the integrity of our passport. Ultimately, the move to a new system will strengthen the security of the Canadian passport.
As mentioned in CIC’s 2014 Report on Plans and Priorities, the department’s Global Case Management System, which is used to securely and efficiently process millions of immigration and citizenship applications, is now being tested by a small group of employees processing passport applications.
The move to a new information technology platform to issue passports is being done in a very careful, controlled and phased manner. Checks and balances are in place to ensure issues can be identified and fixed, before the system is rolled out more broadly.
Of the millions of passports issued each year, only a small number have been part of this controlled testing phase. All files processed in the new system to date have been put through several levels of rigorous verification and quality control to ensure accuracy, identity, security and the entitlement of an applicant to hold a travel document. The purpose of this controlled testing has been to identify issues and anomalies in order to make corrections before each passport has been issued. The testing did, in fact, identify some issues, all of which have been addressed. We have confidence in the security and integrity of each passport issued as part of this test phase. The integrity of our passports is not at risk.
As with any transition, change must be managed in a staged and carefully calibrated manner, in order to fix any issues and potential risks that might arise. This is the principle of robust and sound project management. CIC has had extensive experience in delivering major information technology transformation initiatives, and this experience is informing the work to modernize the Passport Program.
The Government of Canada welcomes this opportunity to make passport service delivery even more effective and convenient for Canadians, all the while maintaining the integrity and security of the Canadian passport.