Don’t Forget Your Passport—and Your Money

The cost of travel is going up, thanks to your government. Effective July 1, 2013, Canada’s passport fees are going up and up and up: higher than the fees most other industrialized nations charge their citizens.

As of July, a five year passport will vault from $87 to $120 (that’s about 40 percent). And a 10-year passport will cost $160.  By comparison a U.S. passport costs an American citizen $110 (for 10 years), a U.K. passport, the equivalent of $116, and a German passport about $77—all are 10-year documents.

That’s for passports issued to applicants in Canada and delivered in Canada. But if you’re a Canadian citizen living abroad, the cost for a 10-year passport soars to $260, and even for kids (who have to get their passport renewed every five years) it’s $100 for those citizens living out of Canada.

What is it that makes Canadian passports so much more expensive?  Is it the technology, the manpower, the paper, the electronic chips?  Most countries already have those. Could it be the snow tires the bureaucrats in Ottawa must buy to drive to their warm and comfy offices?

Passport Canada explains it this way: “The new fee structure will allow Passport Canada to cover its costs and expenditures to be able to continue to provide excellent customer service, facilitate travel for Canadians, maintain existing security standards, fight identity fraud, and keep pace with technological advancement and international standards so the Canadian passport remains a secure and trusted travel document.” How come the Germans can do all that for half the price and the Brits and the Americans for two thirds? They’ve got the same technology.

Nonetheless, you can’t do without it.  If you travel anywhere out of the country you need to have a passport even though there are other identity devices such as Nexus cards, (only good between the U.S. and Canada), and enhanced identification driver’s licenses in some provinces and states that are being used for border crossings.  But there is no substitute for a passport, which is indisputable evidence of who you are and where you have citizenship.

Border crossings are tightening worldwide and it is not unusual for people to be turned back from their destination because they don’t have the proper documentation.  We have to pay a price for the security we all want. So Grin and Bear It.

But that doesn’t have to prevent us from wondering why it costs Canadian bureaucrats more to provide the same service that bureaucrats can provide cheaper in other countries.

Fortunately, what is not soaring in price, is travel insurance—which is just as essential to have when you travel out of the country as is a passport. Visit the sites of insurers advertising with us: they cover most of the major travel insurers and underwriters in Canada.

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