Feds say passport backlog "virtually eliminated," but Canadians are calling BS

Jan 25 2023, 5:24 pm

Canada’s pandemic-induced passport backlog has been resolved and processing times have returned to normal levels, according to Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Karina Gould.

But many Canadians, still stuck without their passports and unable to make international travelling plans, aren’t buying it.

On January 19, Employment and Social Development Canada announced that passport services were not yet back to normal, but were seeing improvements across the country due to a strategic surge in new government employees hired to resolve the issue.

“The team at Service Canada is 100% engaged in getting them there as soon as possible,” the feds noted in their press release.

Less than a week after the initial announcement, on Tuesday, Passport Canada said it had finally achieved pre-pandemic processing times — a standard 10 business days for in-person applications, and 20 business days for those who applied through mail or Service Canada centres.

Complaints from people stuck in travel limbo followed on social media. Some said they had not received their travel document after months and months of waiting.

Others complained about dealing with uncertain timings and vague updates from Passport Canada’s call centres.

“[Passport Canada representatives] say it’s been transferred to a ‘special office’ the call centre to doesn’t have access to,” one applicant scheduled to travel soon said, adding that they were expecting a call but never received one. “Leaving in 30 days. What am I supposed to do?”

People who are looking to have their passports renewed say they cannot find free appointment slots to apply, and that the lineups are long and intimidating.

The update from Passport Canada also provided aspiring Canadians and their family members an opportunity to raise concerns about permanent residency and citizenship application processing times.

Are you still stuck without a passport due to the backlog? Or are you an immigrant waiting for your PR card or grant of citizenship for months on end?

Let us know in the comments, or send your tips to [email protected].

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