The government is hiring more staff and offering overtime to current employees to help ease the backlog
The number of passports issued by Service Canada since April 1 has climbed to 556,769, and for the week of July 4 -10, Service Canada staff worked 9,349 hours of overtime. Those are the latest updates from Karina Gould, Minister of Children, Families and Social Development, who oversees passports as part of her portfolio.
“Passport services are not yet back to normal, but we continue to see improvements at passport offices across the country. The team at Service Canada is 100% engaged in getting them there as soon as possible,” says Minister Gould in her latest statement.
Some 54,312 passports were issued in the past week, compared to 44,636 the previous week. “This production level will allow us to continue to reduce the backlog and help get back to more normal delivery times,” added Gould.
The ministry has hired 25 employees to support passport operations in their Mississauga Delivery operations Centre, and they continue to add staff to grow their capacity.
Gould reiterated her reminder for families and other clients travelling with kids: Canadian citizens aged 15 years and under entering the U.S. by land or water, who don’t have a valid passport, only require one of the following documents to cross the border – an original or a copy of a birth certificate, or an original Canadian citizenship certificate. Air travellers of all ages still require a passport.
Gould says the lineups at passport offices fluctuate, with larger queues, especially at offices in bigger cities. In all cases, citizens are seen and given appointments on the same day or another date in advance.
“In most smaller cities, including at passport offices across Atlantic Canada, the lineups are not substantially longer than they have been in previous years, and Canadians are served as usual the day they visit. In our offices in the province of Québec, we are seeing lineups well below the levels seen in recent weeks. Service Canada is closely monitoring lineups in all locations daily,” Said Gould.
A triage system has been deployed to manage lineups, assure people with urgent needs, and provide alternative options for service when needs aren’t as urgent.
Gould concluded, stating, “As always, I want to assure Canadians that returning to better service standards for passports is my focus and priority.”
Image Credit: Social Media (Twitter) of Passport Canada