TORONTO, June 30, 2022 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada is taking steps to help streamline the in-person application process and better manage large crowds and lineups for passport services, in particular in large urban centres, including the Greater Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal areas.
Service Canada is implementing new triage measures to provide a more intensive, client-specific approach.
This work started the week of June 20 in Montréal and is being extended to Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.
Before offices open, at specialized passport sites in each of these cities, increased numbers of managers and executives are assisting and speaking directly with clients.
While the triage methods vary from location to location based on the circumstances, staff are focused on clear communication to clients and prioritizing service to those with urgent travel needs within the following 24 to 48 hours. They are also directing clients with longer-term travel plans to the most appropriate service channels to ensure their passport needs are met and their travel is not interrupted. This includes making better use of the network of over 300 Service Canada sites, and ensuring all centres have the staff, technology and processing capacity to offer by-appointment passport service to clients with less-urgent situations, who have been redirected to them through the triage process.
In the Greater Toronto Area, the triage is separated into three groups:
Travel within 24 to 48 hours
Travel within 3 to 19 days
Travel beyond 20 days (or with no specific travel date)
For travel within 48 hours, clients arriving or on site at any of these locations will receive a ticket with an approximate window of time to return for service at these specialized passport sites. Proof of travel or need is required. For travel within 3 to 19 days, clients arriving or on site are being directed to specific nearby Service Canada Centres, with appointments. Proof of travel or need is required.
Approximate wait times for in-person service at specialized passport sites are available on Canada.ca. Due to the current backlog, clients may be asked to resubmit photos and original documentation to get faster service. If selecting in-person service without an appointment, clients should have all the required documentation for a passport application ready to either renew a passport, or apply for a new passport for an adult or a child.
The challenges in delivering passports is not uniquely an urban problem, and work is continuing on improving the processing times at centres that handle mail applications, as well as addressing the inventory of applications already in hand.
Service Canada thanks everyone for their continued patience as its employees work tirelessly to ensure clients receive their passports as quickly as possible.
Service Canada issued 363,000 passports between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021.
Service Canada issued 1,273,000 passports between April 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022.
Since April 1, 2022, Service Canada has issued 456,000 passports.
The total forecast for passports in 2022–23 is 3.6 million to 4.3 million applications.
Our current processing times for the week of June 20, 2022, are:
"Service Canada staff in all parts of the country are working around the clock to improve delivery of passport services to Canadians. Some of the most challenging situations for clients are in our largest cities, so we are making these changes to help reduce stress and worry for Canadians and provide more certainty. While these measures may not alleviate all the lineups and wait times, we are optimistic they will make the client experience more predictable and fairer for all."
– Lori MacDonald, Senior Associate Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Development and Chief Operating Officer for Service Canada
The Current Situation
Service Canada has added staff, streamlined procedures and increased processing capacity to help deal with this unprecedented situation. However, significant challenges remain. Service Canada continues to do more, and is implementing additional measures to make waits at specialized passport sites more predictable and manageable.
What We Are Doing
Service Canada has put a number of measures in place to make it easier for Canadians to access passport services, and to improve processing including:
Established a simplified renewal process for any adult passport issued in the last 15 years.
Launched an appointment-booking tool at eservices.canada.ca/reservation that directs clients to the right location for service. Clients should check back often, as appointments are added as they become available.
Added processing hubs across the country.
Increased in-person service capacity by making all passport counters across the country available for service.
Added almost 600 additional staff and made changes to our phone system to ensure that despite long hold times, the Service Canada system does not drop client calls while they wait.
We have also begun to publish approximate passport wait times to help clients prepare for their visit at a passport office, and these numbers are updated 3 times a day.
While triage systems can vary by location circumstantially, staff will be focused on clear communication to clients, prioritizing urgent travel needs, and directing less urgent cases to the most appropriate service channels to ensure their passport needs are met.
Staff from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) are now assisting with direct passport processing. IRCC has also identified program delivery changes to help Service Canada process applications faster.
Service Canada also expects up to 200 Canada Revenue Agency staff to join the service team for passports in Quebec as the tax filing season draws to a close.
Additional print capacity has been added to support applications from the Montreal area. Coupled with some additional streamlining of passport processing and printing, Service Canada is optimistic that these steps will lead to improvements.
What Canadians Need To Know
Passport applications should be submitted well in advance of making travel plans.
Anyone travelling within two business days must go to a passport office (Service Canada Centre – Passport Service) offering urgent pickup service. No appointment is needed and a proof of travel or need is required.
Anyone travelling within 45 business days must go to a passport office (Service Canada Centre – Passport Service) with a proof of travel.
All other clients should apply at any of the over 300 Service Canada Centres.
Mail is also available however not recommended at this time due to the high volume of mail-in applications.
Applying in-person also allows the applicant to have their documents reviewed in-person and to take their documents home with them instead of sending them in the mail. This also reduces application time.
Information on how to apply and obtain a passport application form can be found online on Canada.ca.
Common Errors to Avoid When Applying for a Passport
The Guarantor must sign the back of one photo for Child and Adult General applications.
For Child applications:
For Adult General applications:
Checking on the Status of a Passport Application
Due to the high number of status requests, it takes three or more days to process a request.
A status request can be submitted online on Canada.ca.
If a request has already been made, Canadians should not submit another one.
Transfer of an Application File for the Issuance of a Passport
At the request of the applicant, the Passport Program may transfer an application file for the issuance of a passport between its issuing authorities within Canada.
Clients will not be charged for expedited or transfer fees, if a complete application is submitted and we do not meet the service standard.
If clients have been charged expedited or transfer fees and the service standard has not been met with their application, they can request a refund through the website by submitting a complaint to the Passport Program.
SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada
View original content: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/June2022/30/c9990.html