The federal minister responsible for passports, Karina Gould, is giving an update on the backlog today during the Liberal cabinet’s retreat.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his ministers will meet in Hamilton, Ont., this week to map out the federal government’s priorities before the House returns on January 30.
Passport delays stretch to several months and lead to canceled plans and headaches when traveling during the summer. Waiting times to apply at passport offices are also lengthy, resulting in many people waiting for hours — and in some cases, camping for days outside the office — to submit their documents.
The delay prompted Gould to ask people not to falsify travel plans to expedite their application, and led to criticism and questions about the government’s ability to provide services to Canadians. federal government.
A spokesperson for Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) told CTVNews.ca earlier this month that people who applied for a passport after October 3, 2022 have already gone through a pre-processing period. pandemic, while additional staffers continue to handle backlogs from Labor Canada. summer and into September.
ESDC spokeswoman Mila Roy wrote in an email to CTVNews.ca on January 4: “New measures introduced to increase passport processing have allowed us to reduce the number of applications. register to send by post to less than 50,000”.
“Of these applications, individuals with an upcoming trip who are still awaiting a passport can request a transfer by contacting the Passport Program or visiting a passport office or Service Canada Center, to ensure their application is processed in a timely manner to them. travel.”
Roy wrote that the high number of applications in the first half of last year, plus safety and health measures during the pandemic, resulted in “an inventory build-up beyond our means,” but noted ” recruiting efforts, increasing efficiency and streamlining processes” for the backlog has decreased in recent months.
For those who applied before October 3, the wait time is still “different” to receive a passport, but customers can get their application expedited without needing to show proof of identity. upcoming travel.
ESDC has also reported more passports issued than applications received monthly since August, helping to reduce the backlog.