Backlog of passport applications nearly cleared, says Minister Gould

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Passport backlog almost cleared, says Minister Gould

Minister Karina Gould revealed that 98% of the applications that had accumulated have now been processed.

The federal government maintained on Tuesday that it had managed to catch up with a gigantic backlog in the processing of passport applications in the country: the minister responsible for the file said that it estimated that 98 % of overdue requests have now been processed.

Last October, most new passport applications were processed on time, but thousands of Canadians who applied before that date were still experiencing excessive delays.

These delays have finally come to an end, Social Development Minister Karina Gould announced on Tuesday. The backlog is virtually eliminated, she said at a press conference on the sidelines of the Liberal cabinet retreat in Hamilton, Ont.

The COVID-19 pandemic had caused a nearly two-year hiatus in passport applications, but once Canadians started traveling again, that demand suddenly skyrocketed.

This increase has resulted in long lines at federal offices across the country: some alarmed travelers even slept outside last summer in front of a passport office in the hope of catching their plane on time.

On the other hand, some people who applied last summer are only receiving their passports today, Minister Gould admitted Tuesday with an apology.

Several reasons can explain why some people are still waiting for their precious document, she said. Some applications are more complex due to issues such as shared custody of children, for example, while others have been singled out for eligibility or integrity reasons.

< p class="e-p">Canadians can be confident that they should be able to get their passports on time as long as their application is submitted according to the rules, she said.

To catch up huge backlog, the federal government has nearly doubled the number of employees handling passports since March. As a result, civil servants have racked up thousands of overtime hours.

New hires are also expected to stay on to help meet future peaks, Gould said Tuesday.

The Minister expects a large number of Canadians to apply over the next few years, as the first-ever passports issued with an expiry date #x27;10-year expiry, summer 2013, to be renewed starting next July.

Service Canada is expected to process up to 3.5 million passport applications in the current fiscal year, she said, double from last year. Between three and five million applications are expected to be made each year for the next few years.

The good news, Ms. Gould added, is that Service Canada will be more able to handle this very high demand than last spring. Between 80% and 85% of applications submitted last year were from people who had never had a passport before, which made these applications take longer to process, explained the minister.

However, what we expect, especially for this summer, is a higher number of renewals, which are much simpler, she told reporters in Hamilton .

While passport offices are back to normal, Ms. Gould still encourages people planning to travel to check their passport's expiration date and file their application. request as soon as possible to avoid delays.

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