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Long wait times, but smoother navigation at the Edmonton passport office


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Long lines continued at Canada Place in Edmonton with more than 100 people queuing for passport services early Thursday morning.

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Lance Colak arrived at 6am to get passports for his two children after his wife stood in line for seven hours last Friday and was turned away with only a few people ahead of her.

Colak said he arrived earlier to be safe, but noticed the long lines moved around more easily on Thursday.

“What I see is that they have worked hard to improve processes,” he said.

“There are more people communicating for one, inside, so it’s not just the security guards who don’t always know the answers, it’s the actual people in the passport office who come out and try to to help.”

Colak said an employee told him they were currently processing up to 200 passport applications a day, up from about 100 last week. Noticeable adjustments have been made on the pitch, he said.

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Samantha Miedreich said she arrived at Place du Canada around 5:30 a.m. and there were already 140 people ahead of her in line.

“I heard there was a long wait, so I came a little prepared but I wasn’t prepared for the number of people ahead of me, but I managed to get through.” she declared.

Miedreich was getting passports for two children, ages 10 and 3, ahead of an upcoming road trip up the Oregon Coast. It took six hours to do everything, but Miedreich said the process was smooth for her.

“Everyone was very friendly,” she said.

“I know a lot of situations where people in front of me and behind me were saying they were getting on a plane tomorrow, they had been waiting for their passports for months, so it was obviously more stressful for them.”

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Across the hall from the long line was a Service Canada center where no more than 10 people lined up for non-emergency requests. Nicole Carson made an appointment online Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. Thursday morning to get a passport for her five-month-old son. She said it was a “pretty seamless” and easy process.

Several people from Vancouver also lined up at the Edmonton office on Thursday after Whitney B., a local food blogger, posted a TikTok of her experience flying from Abbotsford to Edmonton via Flair Airlines to get her replacement passport the week last. His return flight cost $87.

“It was impossible to get it in Vancouver without camping at 7 p.m. the night before or paying $300 (at $1,000),” she told the Vancouver is Awesome website.

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Whitney B. was in and out of the Edmonton office, passport in hand, in just under two and a half hours. However, it took some pre-planning as she made an appointment at the Edmonton office the day before constantly updating the online appointment schedule, which she says adds same-day or next-day slots every morning between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Colak said if you show up at the Edmonton office at 6 a.m. you’ll get to the front of the queue, it might take a while. He recommends that those looking for information on the passport process go to the office and ask the workers on site for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

ktaniguchi@postmedia.com

twitter.com/kellentaniguchi

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