Statement from Minister Gould on the status of passport services

Statement

July 7, 2022              Ottawa, Ontario              Employment and Social Development Canada

“The Canadian passport is a valuable document that Canadians rely upon for international business travel, vacations, and visits to family and friends. Canadians should be able to obtain a new or renewed passport in a timely manner. I remain seized with resolving this unacceptable situation as quickly as possible.

“The majority of Canadians with immediate travel needs have continued to receive their passport in time to travel. 

“In Quebec we have seen reduced line ups, and an increase in appointments as Service Canada has taken steps to make specialized passport sites more responsive and efficient in serving Canadians with passport needs that have now become urgent as a result of delays.

“This enhanced triage system, which provides a more intensive, client-specific approach prioritizing service to those with urgent travel needs within the following 24 to 48 hours, has since been implemented in Richmond, Quebec City, Gatineau, Calgary, Edmonton and Halifax as well as Montreal, Vancouver, Surrey, and the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. Service Canada plans to expand this strategy to additional passport offices in the coming weeks.

“The passport service workforce has increased by approximately 48% since July of last year. Almost 150 new specialized staff are in training right now, who will be able to entitle (or approve) passports, with more staff being added to speed up renewals and handle simple applications.

“Departmental resources, and staff from many other government departments, including Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) have been re-assigned to support passport processing. Staff are continuing to address the unprecedented backlog, and we have seen an increase in weekly production of passports.

“Through continued efforts to maximize efficiency, increase resources and streamline processes, we expect the passport backlog to drop significantly by the end of the summer.

“Additionally, I have instructed Service Canada to work with IRCC to continue to develop solutions that can help improve, modernize and streamline the passport program over the medium and longer term. The government is exploring digital solutions to make online submissions for renewals a possibility, as well as technology for Canadians to track the status of their applications online. We are also seeking solutions that would allow more of the network of over 300 regular Service Canada Centres across the country to process simple passport renewals, which would dramatically increase capacity and give Canadians greater access to the 10 day service.

“While a great deal of work remains to be done in order to get back to normal service, we have made important progress in improving services for Canadians, and we are dedicating all possible resources to solving these problems. The Government of Canada will continue to act quickly to alleviate the pressure on the passport system to better serve Canadians. I understand and share the frustration of so many Canadians. I continue to make this my top priority.” 

Quick facts

  • Service Canada continues to face a range of interconnected issues that were created by the pandemic which have affected timely delivery of passport service to Canadians. These include:
    • an increase in volume of applications
    • a shift to mail applications which take more time to process
    • public health restrictions
    • a large proportion of complex applications.
  • From April 1 to the end of June 2022, Service Canada received more than 808,000 applications for passports, which is 166,000 more applications than received during the same period in 2019, the last pre-pandemic year.
  • The revised forecast of passport volume for this fiscal year has grown from 2.4 million to 4.3 million applications.
  • Federal public servants are currently working over 6000 hours of overtime per week to deliver passport services.
  • Applications submitted by mail are being processed within 10 weeks, plus mailing time.
  • 94 per cent of applications submitted in person are currently being processed in 10 business days or less, plus mailing time.
  • In the United Kingdom, passport processing times are 10 weeks. In the United States, routine processing is 8 to 11 weeks, and expedited processing is 5 to 7 weeks.
  • 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.
  • The Task Force on Services to Canadians was announced on June 25, 2022, to improve government services. Digitally-enabled services are important part of modern and effective service delivery. The task force will identify gaps and areas for improvement and make recommendations to ensure Canadians from coast to coast to coast receive the highest quality of service.

Related Products 

Q&A on passport services

Associated Links

Find a passport service location and check wait times near you - Canada.ca
Check passport and travel document processing times and service standards - Canada.ca
Passport program statistics - Canada.ca

Contacts

For media enquiries, please contact:

Mohammad Hussain
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Karina Gould
mohammad.a.hussain@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
819-994-5559
media@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca
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