Canadians applying for new passports will notice a few differences from this summer. A new design featuring iconic Canadian imagery and enhanced security features is due for roll-out by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), but one thing it will not include is King Charles’ choice of crown.
The Canadian Bank Note Company is responsible for the fresh look, under its 14-year contract with the Canadian government. The previous incarnation of the passport was released ten years ago.
While the passport cover retains its navy-blue shade, the classic gold coat of arms now sits below a maple leaf design that could also be interpreted as a mountain silhouette.
“The new Canadian passport is more than a travel document; it is a representation of our national identity and values,” says Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.
It is a reminder of the beauty and diversity of Canada, and it reflects the country’s commitment to welcoming people from all around the world.Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
On the passport’s pages, images of Canada’s people, landscapes and wildlife appear and intensify when held under ultraviolet light. So how do Canadians see themselves? A mother bear and her cubs, birds, maple leaves, pumpkin-harvesting, wild swimming, a deer and flakes of snow are some of the chosen symbols of the country.
Royal watchers and those interested in Commonwealth relations will note the Coat of Arms used in the new design is that of the late Queen Elizabeth II and not new monarch, 74-year-old King Charles III. This anomaly is due to the lengthy lead-in process for the design, but it will not go unnoticed that where Elizabeth had modernised the Arms with her choice of the St Edward crown, Charles has reverted to using a “Tudor Crown”, also known as the “Imperial Crown” – a term that has unfortunate connotations of subordination for post-Empire countries who joined the Commonwealth.
Meanwhile, security elements in the new passport include the engraving, rather than printing, of personal information on a polycarbonate data page that is durable and resistant to tampering and counterfeiting.
Other features include temperature-sensitive ink; a Kinegram – a diffractive image that changes when held at different angles; and a bespoke window with a further image of the passport holder.
Canada’s passport ranks fourth most powerful globally on the world Passport Index, with Canadians benefiting from visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to over 170 countries.
The Canadian administration has assured citizens “the current passport remains secure and reliable, so Canadians with valid passports will only need to renew them when they are getting close to their normal renewal date.”
Those applying from this autumn will also find an increased suite of e-services available to them. It will be possible to renew a passport, pay the necessary fees, and upload photographs securely and conveniently online.