What to do if you've lost your Canadian passport

Canadian passport
If you lose your passport multiple times, you may have a real issue. (Getty)

A recent post on Reddit posed a common question about lost passports, and what should be done if a Canadian traveller loses theirs more than once.

In the post, the writer explains that her friend lost a passport in 2016 and replaced it a week later. Then, in 2019, the replaced passport was stolen again.

The comments range from mean to practical, yet none provided a thorough answer. Yahoo Canada spoke with travel expert Barry Choi and as well as a representative from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to rundown the steps Canadians should take if their passport is lost, stolen or severely damaged.

Losing a passport in Canada

If your passport has been damaged, lost or stolen before a trip, while still in Canada, the good news is that it’s relatively easy to replace. However, it’s important to do so as soon as possible.

“Search everything first,” says Choi. “Once you’ve confirmed it’s lost, report it right away.”

In order to prevent identity theft or fraud, contact Service Canada at 1-800-567-6868 to provide details on if the passport was lost or stolen. Passports that have been damaged by water or other liquids - perhaps it went through a laundry load - are often considered inadmissible.

A variety of paperwork, along with proof of citizenship, a fee and two passport photos will be required in order to process the new document.

Losing a passport abroad

Things get trickier when you lose a passport while out of the country. The first thing to do is find the nearest Canadian consulate or embassy and head there right away. If you’re somewhere that doesn’t have those places, you’ll need to rely on a family member or friend to contact one on your behalf to help you get the documents that you’ll need.

Losing a passport multiple times

Choi warns that Canadian travellers don’t want to get into the habit of losing their passport, especially before it has expired.

“People forget that you don’t own that passport, technically the government owns it,” he says. “If you’re constantly losing it, it’s going to look suspicious...obviously passports are valuable and people are looking to obtain them.”

In an email statement, Nancy Caron from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada says that if you find your passport that’s been reported lost or stolen after having applied for a new one, notify the Passport Program as soon as possible. The found passport can’t be used as a travel document, as it will have been cancelled and reported to Interpol as soon as it was reported lost or stolen.

If you’ve reported a passport lost, damaged or stolen on multiple occasions, you can expect to face a number of restrictions when applying for a new one. You may be asked to provide proof of travel before a new document is issued, for example, or have limitations placed on the passport’s validity. In the worst case scenario, your passport application will be refused.