#Terrorism, #Canada, #ServiceCanada, #PassportOffices, #Employment&SocialDevelopment, #ESDC, #DanielLang
To increase security and to combat senior officials’ fears of terrorist activities in the passport facilities, the federal government had been making changes to its rules and facilities, especially in the event of government's decision to revoke the passport privileges of suspects, media reports said.
Image: Canadian Passport
Concerns of passports officers of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) increased after two separate terrorist attacks in October 2014.
“ESDC Passport offices may be considered targets of symbolic value in future attacks,” reads part of the 2015 briefing note marked, “Canadian Eyes Only,” CityNews reports said.
Conservative Sen. Daniel Lang said he had identified 60 individuals who left Canada to join a terrorist group abroad.
Country’s spy agency had also tracked 218 counter-terrorism targets in Canada, added Lang.
“Some of these individuals … mean to cause significant harm and even mass murder. More must be done to secure public spaces including passport offices, Service Canada offices, airport entry areas, bus terminals, and rail stations from terrorist elements,” Lang said, CityNews reports said.
Keeping passport offices secure was the key to safety and security of people in public spaces, said the chairman of the Senate’s national security committee, which had been studying terrorist threats to Canada.
It was assessed by a spokesmen of ESDC that both physical and operational changes in the facilities were needed to reduce the risk of terrorist attacks in 151 Service Canada passport issuing offices, overseen by ESDC.
There were suggestions that Canadian passport holders’ renewal period would be extended from five years to 10 years.
Canadians passport holders were also encouraged to renew their passports online to reduce the traffic in the passport office.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)