Following reports of Canadians camping outside of passport offices, spending several stressful hours – if not days – in line to renew their passports, the federal government has created a special task force to try and fix the problem.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in a statement on Saturday (June 25), said the delays in immigration application and passport processing are “unacceptable” and that the government “is urgently working to resolve them as soon as possible.”
The PM said the new task force – which consists of ten cabinet members – will help guide the government to better meet the changing needs of Canadians and continue to “provide them with the high-quality services they need and deserve.”
The members of the task force are:
- Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth (Co-Chair)
- Marc Miller, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations (Co-Chair)
- Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance
- Mona Fortier, President of the Treasury Board
- Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion
- Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development
- Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities
- Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue
- Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development
- Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada
The committee is expected to make recommendations and suggest solutions that would reduce wait times, clean up backlogs and improve the overall quality of services provided to Canadians.
As labour shortages continue to lead to air travel delays around the world, the task force will also monitor the delay situation at Canadian airports, Trudeau said.
In response to the high demand for renewed passports, Service Canada has added staff, streamlined procedures and increased processing capacity.
According to a June 23 statement by Minister of Social Development Karina Gould, staff from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada are now assisting with direct passport processing and Service Canada expects up to 200 Canada Revenue Agency staff to join the service team for passports in Quebec as the tax filing season draws to a close.
Additional print capacity has been added to support applications from the Montreal area, Gould said.
"I want to reassure Canadians that no option to improve service will be left on the table, and solutions are being implemented as rapidly as possible when they are identified,” Gould said.
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