Ever since a reader and I had a bit of a debate as to whether a criminal record could delay one's application for a passport in my Online Passport Application Article , I've gotten a few hits every day from people asking this very question. I stated that I thought that a criminal record could delay one's application, while this user claimed that I had no idea what I was talking about. So, this made me curious.
2010 Update: I've written a clearer and everyday explanation of who can't get a Canadian Passport. I recommend reading this link first, then come back here to read it and the comments (there are several pages of comments!).
Of course, every case is going to be different, and I'm not even going to get into how this might affect one's ability to get _into_ another country. I'm going to only address applying for and getting a Canadian Passport.
Canadian Passport Laws/Regulations re: Criminal Records&Related Stuff
From the Canadian Passport Order, Section 9 (retrieved December 21st, 2007):
(a) fails to provide the Passport Office with a duly completed application for a passport or with the information and material that is required or requested
(i) in the application for a passport, or
(ii) pursuant to section 8;
(b) stands charged in Canada with the commission of an indictable offence;
(c) stands charged outside Canada with the commission of any offence that would, if committed in Canada, constitute an indictable offence;
(d) is subject to a term of imprisonment in Canada or is forbidden to leave Canada or the territorial jurisdiction of a Canadian court by conditions imposed with respect to
(i) any temporary absence, work release, parole, statutory release or other similar regime of absence or release from a penitentiary or prison or any other place of confinement granted under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the Prisons and Reformatories Act or any law made in Canada that contains similar release provisions,
(ii) any alternative measures, judicial interim release, release from custody, conditional sentence order or probation order granted under the Criminal Code or any law made in Canada that contains similar release provisions, or
(iii) any absence without escort from a penitentiary or prison granted under any law made in Canada;
(d.1) is subject to a term of imprisonment outside Canada or is forbidden to leave a foreign state or the territorial jurisdiction of a foreign court by conditions imposed with respect to any custodial release provisions that are comparable to those set out in subparagraphs (d)(i) to (iii);
(e) has been convicted of an offence under section 57 of the Criminal Code or has been convicted in a foreign state of an offence that would, if committed in Canada, constitute an offence under section 57 of the Criminal Code;
(f) is indebted to the Crown for expenses related to repatriation to Canada or for other consular financial assistance provided abroad at his request by the Government of Canada; or
(g) has been issued a passport that has not expired and has not been revoked.
So, that's (part of) the law on the subject.
Section 57 of the Criminal Code of Canada relates to crimes regarding the forgery of passports and misuse of passports.
Here are the laws/regulations on "Revocation" (ie: taking away one's passport that they already have).
I am not a lawyer, this isn't real legal advice and I haven't had any experience with this, so your mileage may vary.