Sunday,  August 7, 2022  11:18 am

“Another improved week for passport production”: Minister Gould

  • Buzz
  •   07-20-2022  7:29 am
  •   Pax Global Media

“Another improved week for passport production”: Minister Gould
Ottawa says passport services are still not yet back to normal, but improvements are being made. (File photo)
Pax Global Media

The Government of Canada says passport services are still not yet back to normal, but improvements are continuing to be seen at offices across the country.

Issuing yet another update on Tuesday (July 19), Minister of Social Development Karina Gould said it “was another improved week for passport production,” noting that 54,312 passports were issued, compared to 44,636 the previous week.

“This production level will allow us to continue to reduce the backlog, and help get back to more normal delivery times,” Minister Gould stated. “We continue to add staff to grow capacity as well. As just one example, today, we hired 25 employees to be on the job in our Mississauga Delivery Operations Centre, to support passport operations.”

READ MORE: Ottawa scrambles to do more to relieve severe delays at some passport offices

On cross-border land travel, Gould reminded Canadians that travellers who are 15 years old and under entering the United States by land or water do not need a passport to cross the border.

“All that is required is an original or a copy of a birth certificate, or an original Canadian citizenship certificate,” she said. “If you're flying, you do still need a passport.”

"Of course, it's always best to make sure you have your passport in hand before booking international travel. There are still too many Canadians facing stressful situations as they wait for passports in time for travel. Processing backlogs are creating urgent situations, but thankfully in most of these cases, staff are able to respond and get Canadians their passports quickly.”

Lineups fluctuate

Gould has been speaking out on Canada’s passport situation for several weeks now amid reports of frustrated Canadians camping outside of passport offices, spending several hours – if not days – in line to renew their documents.

Last month, Service Canada unveiled triage measures to better manage crowds and lineups for new passports in big cities.

The system prioritizes service to those with urgent travel needs within the following 24 to 48 hours.

READ MORE: Ottawa outlines triage measures for passport renewal in big cities

Amid a surge in demand for international travel, Service Canada’s total forecast for passports in 2022–23 is 4.3 million applications.

"The lineups at passport offices fluctuate, with larger queues especially at offices in bigger cities, though in all cases citizens are being seen and provided appointments either the same day or another date ahead of their travel,” Gould said yesterday.

“In most smaller cities, including at passport offices across Atlantic Canada, the lineups are not substantially longer than they have been in previous years, and Canadians are served as usual the day they visit.”

Passport offices in Quebec are also seeing lineups “well below the levels seen” in recent weeks.

And employees are apparently stepping up: for the week of July 4 to July 10, staff worked 9,349 hours of overtime, Gould said. 

Of course, the improvement in processing times could also be linked to the notion that some Canadians are cancelling trips to avoid the long lineups and lost baggage issues that are currently plaguing major airports.

Service Canada has meanwhile launched an appointment-booking tool that directs clients to the right location for passport renewal. Click here to access that tool.

The government has also released a new Q&A on passport services. Click here to read it.

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