According to the Toronto Star, Canada is laying the regulatory groundwork to introduce biometric passports.
TheStar.com - Ottawa takes `big step' to biometric ID
... The latest issue of the Canada Gazette, the government's official notice paper, contains several proposed changes to the formal rules governing passports, including two specific provisions for biometric data.
"Passport Canada may convert any information submitted by an applicant into a digital biometric format for the purpose of inserting that information into a passport or for other uses," says one proposed change.
"Passport Canada may convert an applicant's photograph into a biometric template for the purpose of verifying the applicant's identity, including nationality, and entitlement to obtain or remain in possession of a passport," says another.
Passport Canada officials confirmed yesterday that this is a big step toward a large-scale debut of biometrics — the technology that allows citizens to be identified by physical characteristics, which is increasingly becoming a part of many countries' national ID systems.
In Canada's case, the biometrics will be facial-recognition technology, according to Passport Canada spokesperson Francine Charbonneau.
"There is no timeline yet. There's not even a ballpark figure of the timeline," she said. "But it is a good sign that we have the modification.... It's a big step."
Here is the relevant portion of the Canada Gazette notice about amendments to the Passport Order:
Canada Gazette - Order Amending the Canadian Passport Order - P.C. 2006-529 June 15, 2006
(2) Subsection 8.1(2) of the English version of the Order is replaced by the following:
(2) Passport Canada may convert an applicant's photograph into a biometric template for the purpose of verifying the applicant's identity, including nationality, and entitlement to obtain or remain in possession of a passport.