The Canadian government is vowing to take action on passport wait times plaguing Service Canada offices in cities across the country.
Karina Gould, minister of children, families, and social development, issued a statement on Thursday regarding the wait times, saying she was “deeply concerned about the delivery of passport services to Canadians.”
Gould says she has directed officials in her department and at Service Canada to work to find and implement solutions to these problems, which include implementing measures to make waits at specialized passport sites more predictable and manageable.
“Given the large crowds and lineups for passport services in urban centres, Service Canada is implementing new triage measures to provide a more intensive, client-specific approach,” the minister said.
“This work started earlier this week in Montreal, and with ongoing refinements, it should improve circumstances — especially the experience of those waiting in line. These measures were extended to Toronto and will be implemented in Vancouver beginning on Monday, June 27, as well as in other cities across the country.”
Gould says workers will be prioritizing service to those with urgent travel needs within the following 24 to 48 hours and will also be directing clients with longer-term travel plans to the most appropriate service channels to ensure their passport needs are met and their travel is not interrupted.
The wait times have become so severe that a Vancouver woman flew out of province to Edmonton to get a new passport faster. Back in April, people were even offering to stand in passport renewal lines for hundreds of dollars.