9,349 hours of overtime in one week for passport staff: Gould

9,349 hours of overtime in one week for passport staff: Gould 

OTTAWA — The number of passports issued  by Service Canada since April 1 has climbed to 556,769, and for the week of July 4 -10, Service Canada staff worked 9,349 hours of overtime.

Those are the latest stats from Karina Gould, Minister of Children, Families and Social Development, who oversees passports as part of her portfolio.

“Passport services are not yet back to normal, but we continue to see improvements at passport offices across the country. The team at Service Canada is 100% engaged in getting them there as soon as possible,” says Minister Gould in her latest statement.

Some 54,312 passports were issued in the past week, compared to 44,636 the previous week. “This production level will allow us to continue to reduce the backlog, and help get back to more normal delivery times.” Gould says more staff are coming on board as well.

Gould reiterated her reminder for families and other clients travelling with kids: Canadian citizens aged 15 years and under entering the U.S. by land or water, who don’t have a valid passport, only require one the following documents to cross the border – an original or a copy of a birth certificate, or an original Canadian citizenship certificate. Air travellers of all ages still require a passport.

Gould says the lineups at passport offices fluctuate, with larger queues especially at offices in bigger cities, though in all cases citizens are being seen and provided appointments either the same day or another date ahead of their travel. “In most smaller cities, including at passport offices across Atlantic Canada, the lineups are not substantially longer than they have been in previous years, and Canadians are served as usual the day they visit. In our offices in the province of Québec, we are seeing lineups well below the levels seen in recent weeks. Service Canada is closely monitoring lineups in all locations daily,” says Gould.

The new triage system has helped turnaround times at busier passport offices, like in the Greater Toronto Area, Montreal, Ottawa, the Vancouver area, Calgary and Edmonton.