Today, Service Canada announced additional steps to expedite and streamline Canadian passport services. There has been delays in passport services with applicants waiting in long queues outside passport offices. Service Canada claims that their ability to serve Canadians swiftly was affected by the unprecedented volume of applications and pandemic restrictions of in-person capacity limits for both clients and staff.
However, Employment and Social Development of Canada (ESDC) published new measures via a press release to expedite and streamline passport services across Canada. Below are the measures announced in the press release:
- Service Canada has reopened all passport service counters across the country. Reopening measures were implemented the week of May 9 following a brief trial period. This will return to pre-pandemic in-person service capacity, with a 40% increase in capacity at service counters.
- Service Canada launched an online appointment booking tool. This new tool can be accessed 24 hours, 7 days a week from your computer, tablet, or cellphone at eservices.canada.ca/reservation/. Furthermore, this tool will also direct you to the right location for submission of passport application.
As per the press release, Service Canada has issued 210,219 passports since April 1, 2022. Below are the measures put in place to improve and streamline Canadian passport services:
- A simplified renewal process now allows applicants to renew an expired passport if it was issued in the last 15 years.
- Applicants do not need to have a guarantor or provide their original documents, such as proof of citizenship or photo identification. They simply need two photos, two references, their completed form and the applicable fees.
- Service Canada has hired 600 new employees specifically to support the processing of passport applications.
- Also, opened more dedicated passport intake counters in over 300 Service Canada Centres, opened additional processing hubs.
- Created a new workload management and processing technology to increase efficiency.
- Moreover, Service Canada continues to hire and train more employees, and teams at the passport office, processing.
- Call centres are working overtime every day and on weekends to increase processing capacity. This includes opening select Service Canada Centres on Saturdays for passport service.
Below are the measures for urgent circumstances that cannot wait for an appointment:
Service Canada recognizes that some circumstances cannot wait for an appointment:
- To receive passport within 2 business days, you must visit one of the specialized passport sites that offer urgent pick-up service. For this, a proof of travel is required.
- If you are travelling within 25 business days, then you can use the walk-in service at one of the 35 specialized passport sites. Service Canada recommend to make an appointments and proof of travel is required.
- Additionally, if your travel plans are in more than 25 days without any specific date, then you can submit in-person applications at over 300 Service Canada Centres. A proof of travel is not required.
As per the department, 98% of applicants who apply in-person at a specialized passport office currently receive their passports in less than 10 business day. Total of 500,000 applications were received by Service Canada in the month of March and April 2022.
Kamal Deep Singh, RCIC (Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant) licensed by CICC (formerly known as ICCRC) with member number R708618. He brings extensive knowledge of immigration law and new changes to rapidly evolving IRCC.