Introduction of New Passport Pick-up Offices
After the pandemic, the ease of travel restrictions brought about an unprecedented influx of passport applicants. The situation forced Canadians to wait in line for hours owing to the uncertainty of their passport processing time. The task force introduced measures to ease congestion, including new passport pick-up offices to combat the backlog. The government indicated that the new pick-up offices would open in the following locations: Trois-Rivieres, Quebec; Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario; Charlottetown, PEI and Red Deer, Alberta.
The government recommended the introduction of around 20 new application and pick-up locations. Karina Gould, the Canadian minister and spokesperson, stated that the new locations would help process applicants’ passports in nine or ten days. She claimed that the new offices would be located within 50 kilometers of most Canadians to aid access and alleviate the long lines of people seeking to apply or pick up their passports. Additionally, the new office will aid efficiency because there would be an increased task force and extended service hours.
The government also invested $85 million in the 2021 Fiscal and Economic Update to minimize backlogs. The strategy will help minimize the applicants’ pile-up and alleviate the unnecessary time wasted waiting in lines. The amount the government invested targeted adding 500 new passport officers and 319 Citizen Services Officers to help improve efficiency and hasten the applications and processing of passports. The government also started retraining staff from other federal agencies in the quest to increase the task force to help alleviate the pile-up.
Improved Renewal Process
There is good news for Canadians who seek to renew their passports after losing their previous ones or those with expired passports. The simplified renewal process only requires them to send two photos, two references, the application form, and fees instead of the complicated procedure of mailing proof of citizenship or finding a guarantor.
Conclusively, the task force will look for options to ensure fast passport applications and introduce the new 300 Service Canada to help in the application and processing of passports. The only setback is they haven’t specified when the initiatives will commence.