I am wondering if there have been any cases in Canada that were heard before a court or tribunal, or even if there was any informal dispute that was discussed in any media. Surely many people in the past have had to miss flights and perhaps a lot of money (by missing conferences, or business meetings) due only to the negligence of some civil servant in a passport office who lost the paper work or lacked diligence.

Please pardon me as this is my first question here on Law Stack Exchange! I would be very happy to modify or delete the question if it can be more appropriate!

  • Too broad without specifying country.
    – Greendrake
    Commented Aug 9, 2019 at 1:01
  • @Greendrake: Thanks for the advice. I didn't know that I could specify country. On Academia Stack Exchange they don't want us asking about specific place. I've now specified the country I'm actually interested in (Canada). Commented Aug 9, 2019 at 1:15
  • You can just search here: canlii.org/en/#search/type=decision&text=passport
    – Greendrake
    Commented Aug 9, 2019 at 1:37
  • Is that really true @Moo? It seems unfair! The person is losing much more than just the passport, they are losing their ability to travel, which means they may miss the family wedding of their daughter! You say "airlines aren't required to cover external costs", but what legislation are you talking about? They are required to pay what the small-claims court decides is fair, and if the plaintiff provides a compelling case that "time" and "money" were lost due to no one's fault but the airline, how on earth is it fair for the airline to walk away scot-free? Commented Aug 9, 2019 at 3:54
  • @Moo: EU261 usually compensates for much more than the "direct" costs though! Usually people get more money back than the cost of the original ticket! Except in cases where they are not delayed as long or the distance was not as long; and in those cases the amount of damages will usually also be much less. Commented Aug 9, 2019 at 20:01

1 Answer 1


Yes. The remedy is called mandamus. You can see examples where this remedy has been sought at CanLII.

One of the most prominent examples is in Vavilov v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2015 FC 960:

With the new birth and citizenship certificates, Mr. Vavilov applied for an extension of his Canadian passport. When the Canadian government did not issue the passport in a timely manner, Mr. Vavilov commenced an application for mandamus in the Federal Court. That application was discontinued on agreement between the parties that a decision would issue by July 19, 2013.

The above is where the mandamus element ends. What followed was a denial of the application and then an eventually successful judicial review after appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. See Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) v. Vavilov, 2019 SCC 65 at paras 152196.

Note that mandamus is not about establishing government liability, but rather, a requirement to issue, or to make the decision.

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