This is a question we receive more often than not. There’s something called the Canadian Passport Order. The order is the federal government’s articulation regarding Canadian passports, and when they will not issue you one. We’ve had many phone calls and inquiries related to individuals seeking information on pardons and curious about whether some criminal charges they’ve received would hinder their ability to renew or apply for a Canadian passport. The answer to this question is – it depends. If you’ve been charged with an “indictable offence” in Canada – or – what would be considered an indictable offence in Canada. What is an indictable offence? An indictable offence is considered a serious offence.
There are three types of indictable offences in Canada;
- Section 553 offences (less serious) are tried in a provincal court without a jury and the maximum penalty for these is 2 years. Examples of section 553 offences include breach of bail, mischief under $5000, theft under $5000, or assaulting a peace officer.
- Section 561 offences– These are considered moderately serious offences and the accused has a right to choose where they want the case to be heard and whether they want a jury. These penalties carry a maximum of 5-10, sometimes 14 years. Examples of section 561 offences include- sexual assault with a weapon, fraud over $5000, theft over $5000, arson, robbery, armed robbery.
- Section 469 offences– these are always heard in a superior court by a judge and jury. The maximum penalty for these offences is generally life in prison. Examples of section 469 offences include 1st degree murder, 2nd degree murder, manslaughter, alarming the majastey, treason, hijacking, kidnapping, hostage taking
The passage from the Canadian Passport Order is listed here:
(a) fails to provide the Passport Office with a duly completed application for a passport or with the information and material that is required or requested
(i) in the application for a passport, or
(ii) pursuant to section 8;
(b) stands charged in Canada with the commission of an indictable offence;
(c) stands charged outside Canada with the commission of any offence that would, if committed in Canada, constitute an indictable offence;
(d) is subject to a term of imprisonment in Canada or is forbidden to leave Canada or the territorial jurisdiction of a Canadian court by conditions imposed with respect to
(i) any temporary absence, work release, parole, statutory release or other similar regime of absence or release from a penitentiary or prison or any other place of confinement granted under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the Prisons and Reformatories Act or any law made in Canada that contains similar release provisions,
(ii) any alternative measures, judicial interim release, release from custody, conditional sentence order or probation order granted under the Criminal Code or any law made in Canada that contains similar release provisions, or
(iii) any absence without escort from a penitentiary or prison granted under any law made in Canada;
(d.1) is subject to a term of imprisonment outside Canada or is forbidden to leave a foreign state or the territorial jurisdiction of a foreign court by conditions imposed with respect to any custodial release provisions that are comparable to those set out in subparagraphs (d)(i) to (iii);
(e) has been convicted of an offence under section 57 of the Criminal Code or has been convicted in a foreign state of an offence that would, if committed in Canada, constitute an offence under section 57 of the Criminal Code;
(f) is indebted to the Crown for expenses related to repatriation to Canada or for other consular financial assistance provided abroad at his request by the Government of Canada; or
(g) has been issued a passport that has not expired and has not been revoked.