The federal government has quietly tightened the rules for travel on special and diplomatic Canadian passports.
It comes after Prime Minister Stephen Harper ordered a review amid alleged misuse for travel and personal business.
Additional changes could flow out of an ongoing review of who should be eligible for government-sanctioned travel documents.
Diplomatic passports, easily identified by their distinctive red cover, are issued to high-ranking government officials, diplomats and representatives, and Canadian government delegates to organizations or conferences.
Special passports, which have a green cover, are issued to office-holders like M-P’s, senators, provincial cabinet members, and non-diplomats employed by the government who are travelling on an official mission abroad.
A special or diplomatic passport confirms one’s identity and role as an official of the government of Canada. However, only those actually accredited to a foreign country have diplomatic immunity.
Four years ago, a flurry of reports cited examples of supposed improper use of such passports. There were also several cases of parliamentarians being denied entry to holiday destinations, unaware that they needed a visa despite holding a special passport.