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Passport renewal queues and wait times skyrocket as pandemic restrictions end


As COVID-19 restrictions end, lines and wait times for passport renewals have skyrocketed in Canada, the federal government confirms.

Between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021 – roughly the first year of the pandemic – Service Canada said it issued 363,000 passports.

From April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022, that number more than tripled to more than 1.27 million.

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Federal passport service standards are 10 business days for processing if the application is submitted in person at a Service Canada Center Passport Services office, and 20 days if the application is submitted at a Service Canada Center or by the post office.

In an emailed statement, Service Canada said the average turnaround time was five days in person at a passport service site beginning April 11 and 22 days at a Service Canada center or by mail. .

“Service Canada recognizes that an increase in demand for passport services has resulted in lineups and longer wait times for service, and we understand the concern this may cause customers,” wrote Employment and Social Development Canada spokesperson Marie Terrien.

“Even with the recent increase in passport applications, Service Canada Centers across the country are working hard to ensure that anyone with travel plans receives a passport before their travel date..”


Passport renewal queues and wait times skyrocket as pandemic restrictions end







Rules for travelers from British Columbia returning to Canada


Rules for travelers from British Columbia returning to Canada

On Tuesday morning, lines outside passport renewal sites in Metro Vancouver wrapped around walls and sidewalks. Some residents were lining up outside as early as 6 a.m. in Surrey and at the Sinclair Center in Vancouver.

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Sarah French told Global News that she had tried more than once at several offices to get through the door and was unable to get an appointment.

“There is no organization or staff,” she said after being unable to submit her application after hours of waiting in Vancouver on Tuesday. “They need clear, concise lines and information. The website does not correspond to the information that the commissionaires give on the spot.

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Osama Khan said he needed a passport to meet an American investor, has been to the Sinclair Center unsuccessfully for the past two days and has seen people waiting outside as early as 3 hours of the morning.

“They have 22 cabins in there. Only five people are working,” he said. “There’s just this chaotic line and you only come in at a certain point. People who have dates don’t travel for a month or two and they’re there. If you go to the website, you can’t make an appointment until May 17. »

In its statement, Service Canada said its centers must follow pandemic safety protocols, including occupancy limitations, so walk-in clients must wait outside rather than in its rooms. waiting.


Passport renewal queues and wait times skyrocket as pandemic restrictions end







Sunwing passengers stranded in Halifax


Sunwing passengers stranded in Halifax

Sarah Goodman, an immigration lawyer at Crease Harman LLP in Victoria, said Service Canada does not meet its customer service standards in the “vast majority of cases”.

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“It’s absolutely disturbing,” she told Global News. “Passport delays cause problems for people who need to travel abroad, whether for leisure, to care for a loved one or to deal with legal matters abroad, such as settling the estate of a loved one.”

Service Canada, meanwhile, encourages Canadians to use its streamlined passport renewal process. Anyone whose expired passport was issued within the last 15 years is eligible, as are Canadians whose passport has been stolen, lost or damaged.

No guarantors or original documents are required in the simplified renewal process — just two photos, two references, a completed form and applicable fees.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.




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