It seems that applying for a renewing of your permanent resident card (PR Card) is a simple process. You are already a permanent resident in Canada and you have lived here for a number of years and you think that renewing is all about exchanging your old card to a new one, and all you must do is fill out the application form, and voila, you have your new card. First of all, you have to understand that you need to renew your PR card only if you intend to travel meaning that, of course, it is a good idea to have your document valid, however, technically speaking you need a card only for travel purposes. If your card is about to expire and you are missing the necessary 2 years out of 5 of physical presence in Canada, it does not mean that you are in limbo. You just need to accumulate those 2 years by continuing to reside in Canada and then, when you have the necessary period, apply for a new card. Of course, if you need to travel and lack days of presence in Canada to qualify for a new card, you have to weigh your options. It is recommended that you stay in Canada until you are eligible for a new PR card because you don’t want to jeopardize your permanent resident status. If you must travel and you lack days of physical presence, you can leave but, when returning back, you will be obliged to apply for a Travel Document in the Canadian consulate in the country you traveled. You simply cannot return to Canada using your expired PR Card. It will be a discretion of the immigration authorities to grant you a Travel Document to return to Canada or not. If not, you have an option to appeal the refusal to the Immigration Appeal Division.
When everything is OK and you have resided in the country for necessary 2 years out of the last 5 years preceding the application, you still must exercise due diligence in filling out forms properly and gather all documents that prove your physical presence in Canada. You cannot ignore the fact that it is your responsibility to satisfy the immigration officer that you are eligible under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to continue to be a permanent resident.