Turnaround times for passports improving, says Gould

Walk-in wait times for passport offices now posted online

OTTAWA — The federal government is outlining new measures to help alleviate wait times for passports, including posting estimated walk-in wait times for passport offices.

More information including wait times can be found here.

This isn’t the first time the government has announced tweaks to the system, with the aim of cutting down wait times, as demand for travel – and new passports, and renewals – soars.

But this latest salvo is another sign that the government recognizes that the lineups at passport offices, and delays in turnaround, are a major problem especially heading into the peak summer travel season.

Service Canada Centre employees are working overtime and on weekends to get through the backlog, says Karina Gould, Minister of Children, Families and Social Development.

Service Canada is also continuing to hire and train more staff. Service Canada has hired approximately 600 new employees this year, and will continue to hire up to 600 additional employees, along with continued internal reassignment of staff to work on delivery of passport services.

More measures include …

  • Established a simplified renewal process for any adult passport issued in the last 15 years, as announced April 1, 2022
  • 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 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 know that despite these efforts, processing times for passports remain long right now. We have adjusted the information on our website so Canadians can know what to expect. Despite the increased demand 72% of Canadians who apply for a passport currently receive their passport within 40 working days. 96% of Canadians receive their passport within 10 working days of submitting an application in person at a specialized site,” says Gould.

She notes that Canada is not in a unique situation, with travellers in the UK, the U.S. and Australia facing passport delays as well.

Gould says she knows the wait times are not what they should be. “These wait times are far from acceptable, and we know many people have been put in very difficult and stressful circumstances. That is why since this challenge first arose, I have been adamant that my department makes it a top priority to address the situation and improve service.

“We are examining and implementing every possible option we can to expedite intake and processing of applications to help Canadians get their passports in a timely way, without compromising integrity. This includes potential policy changes to simplify the passport program, as well as further automation. I will continue to keep Canadians informed about these changes as they are put in place.”