Ottawa unveils new passport, announces online renewal portal (Video)

Gone are the images of Vimy Ridge and the Marathon of Hope. Canada’s new passport features all the new security features and scenes depicting the diverse population and landscape.

Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Sean Fraser and Karina Gould, the Minister of Families, Children, and Social Development unveiled the new document in Ottawa on Wednesday morning.

It’s still blue. Some media reports suggested the passport would be red.

The Coat of Arms remains the same.

Security features, including heat-sensitive ink, a transparent window, and laser-engraved personal information are all designed to make the document as irreplicable as possible.

Reporters asked Fraser why the images contained within were different. His response? It’s about security.

“Countries around the world, when they update their passports, tend not to tinker with the edges but go for entirely new scenes as part of the security features,” he explained. “When you consistently update wholesale — it makes it much harder to counterfeit.”

One reporter asked if the old images offended anyone. Fraser said the government consulted with many departments including Heritage Canada. No one found them offensive. It’s all about making sure the Government of Canada is one step ahead of those who would fake the document.

“This is not partisan,” assured Gould. “The design of this passport started ten years ago. This is really about ensuring the security of the document.”

Work on the redesign started in 2013 when Stephen Harper was Prime Minister.

Fraser said the new passport will go into production this summer, and it’ll be rolled out over the coming year.

“If you go get a passport today, you’re not going to get this new design. We still have existing stock of the previous generation,” said Gould. “Both are excellent — but we’re going to do it in a way that manages the existing inventory so that we’re using taxpayer dollars effectively.”

She added the new passport will not cost Canadians more. The fee is still $57 for a child’s passport, $120 for an adult five-year passport, and $160 for a ten-year document.

Fraser also announced this fall his government would launch a new online portal where Canadians can renew their passports. The government anticipates the new service for renewals will be faster, easier, and more efficient.

Those applying for the first time would still need to go to a passport office or mail in an application, as would parents applying for one for a child that is older than 15.

Gould told reporters Service Canada is still making up time lost for processing during the recent strike by federal government workers, so lineups at Passport Offices are possible.

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