The federal government is bringing in major changes to the way Canadian passports are issued, changes that could speed up the renewal process but also invite forgery, fraud and identity theft at a time of heightened global security.

An internal notice from Citizenship and Immigration Canada obtained by CBC News reveals the changes coming this fall would allow online applications and no longer require the return of the old passport — even if it remains valid for six more months.

Instead, applicants will be told to “cut the corners” of the document through an honour system.

“Regardless of the service channel used, applicants who are no longer required to return their passport will have to cut the corners of the passport according to the instructions provided by the passport when their application is submitted to indicate the passport is no longer valid for travel,” reads the directive from Robert Orr, assistant deputy minister at Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

The change is to take effect on Nov. 1, 2015, for online applications and Dec. 14, 2015, for paper-based applications that are mailed or handed in to a passport office, according to the document.

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