Service Canada boasts success at managing passport wait times

Jun 10 2022, 10:48 pm

If you’ve experienced long wait times for a passport you’re not alone, but Service Canada suggests it has done a lot to combat the long waits.

Canada recently dropped random COVID-19 testing at airports, but there isn’t much reason for Canadians to visit an airport for international travel without a passport.

You’ve likely seen many stories on Twitter and other social media about people who have been told they’d have to wait a very long time to get their passport renewed.

If you apply by mail or at a Service Canada Centre, processing time is up to nine weeks. But some have been waiting for much longer.

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) has told Daily Hive why some may be experiencing the delay and how Service Canada is combating the long waits.

According to ESDC, there is a mixture of variables contributing to the passport wait times including increased demand, and a workforce that is too short-staffed to meet that demand.

How Service Canada is responding

ESDC told Daily Hive that as of the week of May 9, it returned to pre-pandemic in-person service capacity. It also added “additional measures to simplify and expedite passport processing.”

It also suggests that as of the week ending June 5 this year, 75% of Canadians who apply for a passport receive it within 40 working days, and 96% of people applying for in-person at a specialized site receive their passports within 10 working days.

Service Canada issued 363,000 passports between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021. Between April 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022, this number increased to 1,273,000 passports issued, with more than 960,000 issued between September 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022. Since April 1, 2022, more than 317,000 passports have been issued. The total forecast for 2022-2023 is 3.6 million to 4.3 million passport applications,” it said in a statement.

ESDC states that approximately 600 new employees have been hired to help process applications and that it has opened more counters at 317 centres, opened new centres, and created new workload management and processing technology.

Many are still struggling to just get through to Passport Canada to talk to someone.

There are options if you need a passport within two days if you have proof of travel. You basically need to find a specialized Service Canada passport site that offers urgent pick-up service.

It’s important to note that if you’re travelling within Canada, the government doesn’t require you to have a passport, but some carriers might.

While there’s lots of good news from the Canadian government’s standpoint, it won’t offer much relief for those who will have to wait hours in lineups.

For information on any associated fees for your new passport, click here. You can also find approximate wait times for your office of choice here.

Amir AliAmir Ali

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