Canada's passport office seems unable to avoid controversy.
First, it struggled under a massive, post-pandemic backlog of passport applications to process, despite having been warned to expect a surge in applications when travel restarted.
Then it introduced Canada's first new passport in a decade in MAY as Open Jaw reported, with the new passports featuring a new design, security features and artwork.
The new passport design eliminates the previous, 2013-design passport's illustrations of historic moments of Canadiana like Terry Fox, the WW1 Canadian Memorial at Vimy Ridge and the completion of the CP Railway. And that garnered criticism from the Opposition, which accused the government of "attempting to erase" proud Canadian history.
Now, the new passport's manufacturing process apparently means that the covers of brand new passports - which are just now starting to be issued - curl up.
The new passports deploy enhanced security features including a polycarbonate data page, a technology similar to Canada’s drivers' licences. Passport holders’ personal information will now be laser engraved instead of being printed with ink, which the ministers say makes the data page more durable and resistant to tampering and counterfeiting. Other features include a Kinegram over the main photo, a custom see-through window with a secondary image of the passport holder, a variable laser image, and a temperature sensitive ink feature.
But, as CTV News reports a spokesperson from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) acknowledging, “The previous generation of passports contained an additional layer (in the cover) in order to protect the electronic chip."
In the new passports, a chip made of different materials is located in the data page, not the cover, which is now thinner and susceptible to curling if exposed to any heat or humidity. In other words, normal use.
However, the IRCC denies the curling of the passport cover impacts its functionality or durability.
But some of the first group of about 15,000 Canadians to receive the new passports this summer say their curled passports are "not acceptable for an official document," and are "shameful."
On its part, the IRCC claims it has only received a handful of official complaints about the curling issue, and offers this advice: “It is recommended that the passport be securely stored, with the booklet closed, in a cool and dry location, such as a filing cabinet, personal safe, or a bank safety deposit box.”
The government says it has no plans to recall the new passports or to alter their design or manufacturing process.