Statement from Minister Gould on the passport program situation
July 15, 2022 Gatineau, Quebec Employment and Social Development Canada
“Canadians deserve access to timely, efficient, and transparent passport delivery services. We’re continuing to tackle big challenges in the passport program, and as the summer progresses, thanks to the hard work of Service Canada staff, we continue to see improvements in service delivery.
“We are starting to put a dent in the backlog. Last week, the number of passports issued was higher than at any point since before the pandemic, at 54,312. That is up over 20% since the previous week, and the weekly rate is up just over 53% compared to the week ending April 8. We are not out of the woods, but this is a positive trend. The next few weeks will be critical in keeping this momentum.
“In-person services at passport offices are ensuring the vast majority of people are receiving their passport ahead of their travel. This is primarily being accomplished by prioritizing those who have urgent travel needs, while connecting those with non-urgent travel with other service solutions.
“We’re working to make service more accessible to everyone, wherever we can. Last week, 19 out of 35 passport offices and an additional 18 Service Canada Centres offered extended hours of service including weekend appointments. We will also be using new tools for scanning and data entry that will help reduce the inventory.
“We continue to increase the workforce, including hiring and training approximately 500 Passport Officers and 319 Citizen Service Officers (CSOs), as well as re-assigning employees from other departments.
“Still, too many people have had to wait until their situation is urgent before they can get their passports. The more progress we can make on the backlog, the closer we will get to an environment where Canadians can get their passports within our service standards. In the meantime, we’re working to make the experience at the passport offices better.
“With the implementation of the triage system, we will reiterate there is no need or benefit to arriving at a passport office the night before. At passport offices, teams of managers are using the triage system to go through the line, assess needs, and ensure that each client who comes during office hours is being provided a service solution based on the urgency of their travel. Canadians can check what the approximate wait times are at each office.
“Outside of our largest cities, the lineups are not much longer than we’ve seen traditionally, and staff are able to assist the same day, up to 45 days ahead of travel. In busier passport offices, like in the Greater Toronto Area, Montreal, Ottawa, the Vancouver area, Calgary and Edmonton, our triage system helps ensure people can be served in time for their travel, and ensure those with less urgent travel can get an appointment in order to receive their passport before departure by land or by air.
“If your travel is scheduled in the next week and you have mailed in your passport application or applied at a non-passport Service Canada Centre and you do not have your passport, you should go to the nearest passport office to request a transfer of your application file. If you mailed in your passport application and it was not processed within the 20 business day service standard, all additional processing and pick up fees will be waived.
“I understand the passport situation continues to be challenging and frustrating. We will continue to work around the clock to address these issues and resolve this situation. I would like to sincerely thank the Service Canada employees who are working tirelessly to ensure you receive your passports as quickly as possible.”
- Service Canada issued 363,000 passports between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021.
- Service Canada issued 1,273,000 passports between April 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022.
- Service Canada has issued 556,796 passports since April 1, 2022.
- The total forecast for passports in 2022–23 is 4.3 million applications.
- Applications submitted by mail are being processed within 10 weeks, plus mailing time.
- Canadian citizens aged 15 years and under entering the United States by land or water, who don’t have a valid passport, only require one the following documents to cross the border – an original or a copy of a birth certificate, or an original Canadian citizenship certificate.
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