Where were you born?

Overview

An individual complained that the practice of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of displaying a passport holder's place of birth on the passport was discriminatory and violated individual privacy.

Actions taken by the OPC

Our investigation determined that more than 85 countries require that the place of birth be indicated on the passport before entry is permitted. Foreign Affairs officials indicated that when negotiating reciprocal visa-waiving agreements, the place of birth on the passport is often a condition stipulated by other countries. The International Civil Aviation Organization also recommends including place of birth on travel documents.

Nevertheless, passport holders have had the option of having this information displayed or not since 1986. Those choosing to have it excluded must sign statements that they were informed they might encounter difficulties at border points, such as additional questioning by customs officers, the requirement to obtain a visa, or even denial of entry.

Outcome of OPC Actions

We concluded that the complaint was not well-founded.

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