Passport Canada apologizes for unacceptable error

The complainant mailed his passport renewal application to Passport Canada. As required, he provided his expiring passport, photocopies of his driver’s licence and health card, and his original birth certificate. When he received his new passport in the mail, the envelope contained another person’s expired passport and other personal documents.

The individual notified Passport Canada of the error. The agency asked him to return the other individual’s documents, which he did, and said that it would search for his documents. Passport Canada contacted the other individual and learned that he had destroyed the complainant’s documents.

Our investigation determined that a passport employee had mixed up the contents of two files and then failed to check that the labelled envelope, new passport and other documents all matched the intended recipient.

Passport Canada apologized for what it acknowledged was an “unacceptable error” and said it had taken steps to ensure it did not happen again. Managers now hold monthly briefings with staff to verify that proper procedures are being followed. In addition, the agency posts the procedures and all new employees are trained and instructed on the importance of verifying documentation prior to it being placed in an envelope and mailed to a recipient.

The complaint was well-founded.

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