At least 1,500 Canadian passports have been produced under a flawed new system that has opened the door to fraud and tampering, according to documents obtained by CBC/Radio-Canada.
Internal records from Citizenship and Immigration Canada reveal the processing program was rushed into operation on May 9, 2015, despite dire warnings from senior officials that it was not ready and could present new security risks…
Since the launch of the new system, officials have been scrambling to fix hundreds of glitches and seal security gaps. Weeks after the new process was brought on line, there were calls to stop production.
Those recommendations were ignored, and the passports continue to be issued in the first phase of production under the new system, designed to enhance security and integrate with other global programs.
The Canadian passport has been and continues to be the most secure travel/identity document in the world. Any allegation that the security features can be compromised should raise considerable flags both in the department of Citizenship and Immigration as well as the Canadian government as a whole.
Unfortunately when a new system is introduced – especially when the system is behind schedule and over budget – not enough testing is done before the system is implemented. The front line staff are not always consulted and government pressure from the top is so great that mistakes are made. Red flags from front line staff are sometimes ignored.
In order to maintain the integrity of the Canadian passport both at home and abroad, let’s hope that the government makes a serious attempt to fix any problems before more documents are issued. The consequences are too great to ignore.
Klaudios Mustakas is a former senior manager with the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). He has 37 years of federal government service, including international diplomatic assignments in the United States and the Middle East. He retired as Chief, Enforcement (CBSA) in December, 2010.