Quebec Standard

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Passport backlog leaving travelers in limbo

Quebec

Key takeaways: 

  • The government engaged more officers and introduced a triage system to expedite the procedure.
  • Emma Thom eventually got her two kids’ passports Friday afternoon, less than 48 hours before the family was due to travel to the United Kingdom to attend a funeral.

Emma Thom finally got her two kids’ passports Friday afternoon, less than 48 hours before the family is due to cross the United Kingdom to attend a funeral.

Even though Thom presented the applications in April, the journey didn’t happen.

Bringing the travel papers cost the family hundreds of dollars, not to say hours in line at the Service Canada outlet in Gatineau, Que., only to be told before this week that their actual applications had somehow disappeared.

“The man on the phone told me he was ashamed, but they had no idea where my passport data had gone,” Thom told CBC News on Wednesday. “They had lost it, and I was to run and fill out all the forms again.” 

Expediting that procedure cost the family approximately three times what they’d already paid on the applications.

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Emma Thom finally got her two kids’ passports Friday afternoon, less than 48 hours before the family is due to cross the United Kingdom to attend a funeral

Employment and Social Development Canada has been dealing with a vast backlog of passport applications — one that’s been rising steadily since pandemic travel rules were eased.

Thom reported that when she visited the Service Canada office on Thursday, just three of the nine kiosks there were staffed.

“They are not looking after us in any way,” she stated.

More officers, a triage approach

Speaking to CBC’s Ottawa Morning on Friday, Karina Gould, minister of families, kids, and social development, said the unit is reacting by adding more staff. 

“What we’re doing now is employing and training passport officers because we have hundreds of thousands of applications in the system that ought to be processed by a passport officer, and they’re the best ones that can do that,” she stated.

Source – CBC News

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