Canada gets new, more costly computer-chip passports
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, October 26, 2012 10:55AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, October 26, 2012 10:40PM EDT
OTTAWA -- Canada's passports are being updated to include chip technology and watermark images designed to prevent fraud, but are also going to cost a lot more.
The new passports will have computer chips embedded in them -- technology that's already used in dozens of other countries, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Friday.
Each blank page of the document will also contain watermarks depicting iconic images from Canadian history.
"Canada's new passport is not just a ticket to new places, new cultures, and new experiences," Baird said. "It tells the world who we are: a nation built on freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law."
The new passports will be renewable for either five or 10-year periods, but they'll come with a price: $120 for five years, up from the current $87, and $160 for the 10-year option.
Passports for children will be $57, an increase of $20.
For those applying outside of Canada, the fee skyrockets to $190 for a five-year passport -- up from $97 -- and $260 for the document that would expire in 10 years.
By comparison, it currently costs $135 to apply for a new passport in the United States, $25 less for a renewal. An adult passport in the United Kingdom costs the equivalent of about $117.
The 16 distinct images include sports scenes -- obligatory illustrations of the Grey Cup and Stanley Cup -- and Canadian landmarks such as old Quebec City, the Prairies and Parliament's iconic Centre Block.
The changes are designed to deter counterfeiters and make the passport more secure, said Baird.
"It will help us ensure that the Canadian passport remains a secure document that can help facilitate trade and travel."