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Federal government says it’s examining and implementing every possible option to reduce outrageously long passport office delays

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GATINEAU, QC, June 13, 2022 – Lineups at Canadian passport offices are far from acceptable, says an official statement today from Karina Gould, Minister of Children, Families and Social Development. Due to two years of travel restrictions, passport demand is at its peak in Canada and for that matter, the world over. Not only are people resorting to camping out at GTA passport offices but some have even resorted to hiring people to stand in line for them. On social media, the ongoing frustration of waiting in lines at passport offices has reached a breaking point and the complaints are also the same in big cities across the US and Australia.

Lineups at passport offices are not only in Canada, as you can see from this tweet from the Boston area and the one below from Sydney.

The Canadian government says it is taking action to reduce wait times by making potential policy changes to simplify the passport program, as well as further automation. In addition, Service Canada has hired approximately 600 new employees this year, and says they will continue to hire up to 600 additional employees, along with continued internal reassignment of staff to work on delivery of passport services.

Canadians are becoming increasingly frustrated by the obscenley long wait times and lineups at passport offices.

A statement by Karina Gould, Minister of Children, Families and Social Development, addressing the unacceptable wait times at passport offices, reads:

“After two years of travel restrictions, Canada and many other countries around the world are seeing a significant surge in demand for passports. As is the case in many countries, the size and suddenness of this surge has created delays for Canadians in getting the passport services to which they are entitled.

 “These wait times are far from acceptable, and we know many people have been put in very difficult and stressful circumstances. That is why since this challenge first arose, I have been adamant that my department makes it a top priority to address the situation and improve service. We are examining and implementing every possible option we can to expedite intake and processing of applications to help Canadians get their passports in a timely way, without compromising integrity. This includes potential policy changes to simplify the passport program, as well as further automation. I will continue to keep Canadians informed about these changes as they are put in place.

“Over the past several weeks, officials have taken action to help deliver passports more quickly. In every corner of the country, Service Canada Centre employees are working overtime and on weekends. In many locations, Service Canada has also adapted hours of service for clients who cannot be accommodated during regular hours.

“In addition, Service Canada is continuing to hire and train more staff. Already, Service Canada has hired approximately 600 new employees this year, and will continue to hire up to 600 additional employees, along with continued internal reassignment of staff to work on delivery of passport services.

“Further, the Government has:

  • Established a simplified renewal process for any adult passport issued in the last 15 years.
  • Launched an appointment booking tool at eservices.canada.ca/reservation that directs clients to the right location for service. Clients should check back often, as appointments are added as they become available.
  • Added processing hubs across the country.
  • Increased in-person service capacity by making all passport counters across the country available for service.
  • Added additional staff and made changes to our phone system to ensure that despite long hold times, the Service Canada system does not drop client calls while they wait.

“We know that despite these efforts, processing times for passports remain long right now. We have adjusted the information on our website so Canadians can know what to expect. Despite the increased demand 72 percent of Canadians who apply for a passport currently receive their passport within 40 working days. 96 percent of Canadians receive their passport within ten working days of submitting an application in person at a specialized site.

We have also begun to publish approximate passport wait times to help clients prepare for their visit at a passport office. Clients will not be charged any additional fees if a complete application is submitted and we do not meet our published service standard. This includes transfer and pick up fees.

“Canada is not in a unique situation. Several of our international counterparts are also experiencing delays in processing and issuing passports. In Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, the processing time for a new passport is 6, 10 and up to 11 weeks, respectively. And in the Canadian context, the current timelines are well outside our norm.

“We continue to thank Canadians for their patience, and encourage individuals to plan ahead to ensure they have a passport before making travel commitments.”

Related Products:

Backgrounder on passport services

SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada

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