The Federal Workers' Strike Has Disrupted Passport Services & You Should 'Expect Delays'

Many immigration-related services have been impacted. 👇

A Canadian passport. Right: A Service Canada centre.
Associate Editor

A Canadian passport. Right: A Service Canada centre.

For those not in the know, one of the biggest strikes in Canadian history is currently underway, with over 159,000 public servants on strike across the country.

Announced on Tuesday, April 18, the federal workers' strike has disrupted a number of government services, and that includes applying for and renewing Canadian passports.

In fact, many immigration-related services in Canada are currently partially or entirely impacted.

Here's what you need to know.

Which IRCC services are affected by the federal workers' strike?

According to the IRCC website, "Most domestic passport services are currently not available. Delays should be expected in the processing of passport applications during the current labour disruption."

Karina Gould, minister of families, children and social development, confirmed via Twitter that "Many Canadians will not be able to apply for or renew their passport, and they should expect delays in receiving their passports."

However, she added that those who have previously applied and received a pick up date for their passport should still be able to collect it as expected.

Fortunately for those overseas, passport services for Canadians living abroad are considered an essential service and will continue as usual.

There are other exceptions to the disruptions too, with Service Canada continuing to process domestic passport applications for emergency and humanitarian situations.

This includes passports applicants at risk of financial hardship, passport applicants who rely on travel as a source of employment, and passport clients whose situation is deemed urgent on compassionate grounds.

The limited essential services will only be available at passport offices or at Service Canada Centres and Consolidated Passport Offices.

Those applying for citizenship will also likely be affected by the strike action. According to the IRCC, most citizenship events will be rescheduled, although some urgent applications may still be processed.

Getting in touch with IRCC may also take longer than usual as the IRCC Client Support Centre is experiencing delays and social media enquiries are not being answered at this time.

Which IRCC services are still running?

Luckily there are many IRCC services that are still available despite the strike action.

People can still apply online, use their online accounts, access certain emergency services and mail applications to the IRCC.

Other services that remain available include settlement services from IRCC’s partner organizations, health care through the Interim Federal Health Program, and visa application centres outside of Canada.

It's also still possible to access services offered by non-governmental organizations, including settlement services from partner organizations, health care from the Interim Federal Health Program and visa application centres outside of Canada.

The strike was announced after the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) was unable to reach a fair contract with the government.

"Now more than ever, workers need fair wages, good working conditions and inclusive workplaces," said the union's National President Chris Aylward.

Janice Rodrigues
Associate Editor
Janice Rodrigues was an Associate Editor for Narcity Media focused on Canadian immigration and passports, and is based in Scarborough, Ontario.