Canadians are making travel plans to skip passport application lines, the minister said



Backlogs in Canada’s passport system are prompting some individuals to seek loopholes that allow them to renew or get a new passport without long waits, the minister who oversees passport services said.

Liberal MP Carina Gould, minister for families, children and social development, told CTV News that she had heard of people booking flights without valid passports – and using recent travel plans as an excuse to prioritize passport services. Applications.

“It’s not something we’ve heard of happening across the board, but if it really is, I absolutely hope so, because it’s going to make an already overcrowded system worse,” Gold said in a report published Aug. 16.

“I’m very sorry if someone decides to do this because it’s very unfair to people who did the right thing.”

Millions of Canadians are seeking new passports or renewals after the federal government lifted various COVID-19 travel restrictions in the spring.

In the year The government says it has received more than 1 million passport applications by early 2022, but has only been able to issue about 740,000 so far. In April and May, the systems were so oversubscribed that passport applications exceeded the number processed by 240,000.

“Canadians must obtain a new or renewed passport in a timely manner. I am committed to resolving this unacceptable situation as quickly as possible,” Gould said in a statement in July.

Service Canada says it has experienced “related issues” from the pandemic that are delaying passport waiting lists. Among them is an increase in the number of applications and additional mailing applications, “which will take a long time to get going,” Service Canada said.

“Mailed applications are being processed within 10 weeks plus postage,” he said.

In July, the federal government raised its initial forecast of annual passport applications from 2.4 million to 4.3 million.

The government also said that since June 20, passport service workers have given more than 50,000 overtime jobs in an effort to address backlog problems.

Despite their extended passport service hours, they fail to attend to applications every week.

During the week of July 25 to July 31, the government received more than 57,000 applications, but submitted only about 47,000. From August 1 to August 7, passport services were backlogged by another 5,000 applications.

Conservative MP Laila Goodridge, shadow minister for families, said in a statement in June that Gould had proved “incompetent” in trying to tackle passport delays.

“It is not enough for the minister to share the ‘disappointment of Canadians’ when she is responsible for managing long lines at Service Canada offices,” Goodridge said. It is not enough to simply say ‘improving this service is a priority for the Government of Canada’ when action should have been taken months ago.

Gould said in a statement that “about 150” new employees are being trained for the Canadian Passport Service. At present, the total number of passport service personnel is more than 1900.

Peter Wilson


Peter Wilson is a reporter based in Ontario, Canada.


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