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Wednesday,  April 17, 2024 5:34 PM 

Canada's passport backlog “completely eliminated,” says minister

  • Buzz
  •   03-21-2023  3:32 pm
  •   Pax Global Media

Canada's passport backlog “completely eliminated,” says minister
Pax Global Media

The backlog that overwhelmed Canada’s passport system last year has been “completely eliminated,” says the minister in charge.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday (March 21), Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Karina Gould said Ottawa will also unveil a new digital tool that will let Canadians check the status of their Service Canada application online by providing their email.

The news comes after Minister Gould said in January that Canada’s passport backlog was “virtually eliminated” after the government moved “heaven and earth” to fix the system and speed up processing times.

Passport renewals in Canada emerged as a major headache in 2022 as the demand for travel swung back after the government began easing its COVID-related border restrictions.

As the demand for new and updated passports quickly returned to pre-pandemic levels, federal officials had to scramble to streamline and simplify its processes in order to keep up with requests.

But passport renewal delays dragged on for months last year, well through summer, as applications piled up.

In extreme cases, reports claimed that travel-ready Canadians were camping outside on streets in some cities to hold their place in line for new documents.

In response, Ottawa unrolled new procedures to tackle the backlog, such as triage measures in big cities to better manage crowds and lineups, as well as expanding passport pick-up sites in more communities.

Service Canada also doubled its number of employees to speed up processing times.

As reported by the Canadian Press, Gould said she can guarantee that people who apply for passports, now, will get them on time, and she urged people whose passports expire this year to get them renewed ASAP.

The Minister told reporters that there’s a plan in place in case another backlog happens, but she did not offer any details.

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