‘Waits and uncertainty are unacceptable’: Minister Karina Gould

Minister of Families, Children, and Social Development Karina Gould says passport wait times are unacceptable, and more is being done to remedy the situation.

As passport lines across the country, Gould says the government is taking steps to help.

“I share the frustration of Canadians and want to reiterate that these lineups, waits, and uncertainty are unacceptable. That is why I have directed officials in my department and at Service Canada to work to find and implement solutions to these problems,” she says.

She says new procedures will help shorten wait times, alongside extra staff being shifted to passport services.

“Service Canada has added staff, streamlined procedures, and increased processing capacity to help deal with this unprecedented situation,” Gould says.

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“While the triage methods vary from location to location based on the circumstances, staff will be focused on clear communication to clients, prioritizing service to those with urgent travel needs within the following 24 to 48 hours,” said Gould.

Adding, “This includes making better use of the network of over 300 Service Canada sites, and ensuring all centres have the staff, technology, and processing capacity to offer by-appointment passport service to clients with less urgent situations, who have been redirected to them through the triage process.”

Gould said “96 per cent of Canadians receive their passport within 10 working days of submitting an application in person at a specialized site.”

She explained that staff was being pulled in to help with the problem, alongside longer hours.

“Staff from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) are now assisting with direct passport processing. IRCC has also identified program delivery changes to help Service Canada process applications faster.”

“At the same time, public servants from across numerous departments are working overtime, evenings, holidays, and weekends to help address the situation and deliver service.”

Gould said these strategies have started in Montreal and Toronto passport offices and will be implemented in Vancouver beginning on Monday.


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