Canadians have been waiting in lines for hours and hours, all over the country.👇
A Conservative MP slammed the ongoing Canadian passport renewal backlog that's been forcing people to wait in line for hours, describing it as "unacceptable" on Tuesday.
Speaking in the House of Commons on April 26, Conservative MP Brad Vis demanded that the "backlog" at Passport Canada be cleared.
Vis said that he had received "call after call after call" from his Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon constituents in B.C., complaining about the "poor service" at Passport Canada offices.
It comes as, across the country, an "unprecedented surge" in passport applications and renewals has led to extremely long wait times at in-person locations.
According to Vis, some Canadians have been forced to wait in line as early as 4 a.m. in order to secure an appointment at their local office.
The delays at @PassportCan are unacceptable. Canadians are rightly frustrated. #travel #passportspic.twitter.com/qRGsq670cp— Brad Vis (@Brad Vis) 1651085337
A report from CTV News suggests that in Vancouver, individuals got in line outside a Service Canada office at 5:15 a.m. one day — more than three hours before it was set to open at 8:30 — but were still unable to get an appointment.
The Conservative MP accused the feds of knowing there would be a surge in applications as travel begins to return to pre-pandemic levels, but said they "did nothing about the expected demand."
"Why is Passport Canada offering such poor service? And why don't they get their ducks in a row and give Canadians the service they expect from a key government office?" he asked.
On Tuesday, Service Canada Minister and Liberal MP Karina Gould responded by saying the agency had hired an additional 500 passport officers to help process the surge.
She added, "We have made Service Canada available to ensure individuals who need to travel on a non-urgent basis can deposit their applications."
Gould did acknowledge, however, that the ongoing situation is "difficult and stressful."
We\u2019re experiencing high call volumes. You may experience longer wait times. If you do not have travel plans within the next 2 weeks, please delay your call and visit http://Canada.ca/passport\u00a0 for information.— Passport Canada (@Passport Canada) 1646836722
Employment and Social Development Canada, which operates Service Canada locations, recently told CBC News that the significant jump in demand is because so many Canadians have not been travelling internationally due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It's not just in-person offices that are struggling to meet demand, either.
The government is reportedly receiving more than 200,000 calls per day for passport requests, which is around 40 times more than Service Canada typically received pre-pandemic.
Online, a message reads, "We're experiencing very high call volumes right now. Wait times are longer than usual." Travellers are urged to avoid trying to call the department if they do not have travel plans within the next two weeks.
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
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