OTTAWA — Service Canada has implemented a new process for issuing passports that will help minimize long processing times.
According to Karina Gould, Minister of Children of Children, Families and Social Development who oversees passports as part of her portfolio, as of now, Canadians who provided a duly completed application by mail more than 20 business days ago, and are travelling within the next 20 business days, can visit any of over 300 Service Canada Centres to make a transfer request, in order to ensure their application is processed in time for their travel.
Previously, Canadians could only request transfers in person at one of 35 specialized passport sites (Service Canada Centre – Passport Services), or by contacting the call centre. This change gives Canadians an additional service option to make these requests.
“The recent increase in passport demand, combined with the longer processing times, have resulted in a growing number of Canadians requiring their passport applications be transferred to local passport offices for processing in order to get them in time to travel,” says Minister Gould. “This has been stressful for Canadians and a challenging way for them to get their documents.”
Depending on the date of travel, the application will either be expedited and the passport will be mailed to the client before the date required, or the file will be transferred to an office for printing and pickup. A proof of travel or need will be required.
If an application was submitted by mail less than 20 business days ago and a transfer is required due to imminent travel, transfer fees will apply. Additional fees may also apply.
“This change aims to reduce the number of urgent file transfers processed by passport offices and to minimize the burden on local printing facilities at those sites,” adds the Minister. “It will speed up the processing of passport applications when the service standard has not been met and a file transfer has been requested as a result. We should also see a further reduction of lineups associated with urgent requests at passport offices.”
According to Minister Gould, passport delays have been improving in different regions across Canada, especially outside large cities. In Ontario for example, Service Canada has expanded delivery of passport services to 20 scheduled outreach sites. For the week of July 18-24, Service Canada issued 51,418 passports and reported an average call centre wait time of 50 minutes.
“We are making progress on this challenge and we will continue to provide options to offer a better service experience to Canadians,” concluded the Minister.
For more information go to https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/canadian-passports.html. To find a Service Canada Office click here. To book an appointment with eServiceCanada go to https://eservices.canada.ca/en/reservation/.