Settle in CanadaStudy in CanadaJuly 4, 2023by Lalith Kumar GhantaCanadian passport processing back to pre-pandemic service standards

Service Canada has announced that passport delivery times have returned to levels seen before the pandemic. According to a recent press release by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), there are no longer any backlogs in passport applications, and Service Canada is surpassing the delivery standard for most applications. This achievement comes despite a temporary disruption caused by a strike by the Public Service Alliance of Canada, which lasted from April 19 to May 1.

Currently, almost all passports are being delivered within the targeted timeframe of 10 to 20 days, depending on how the application is submitted. ESDC reports that approximately 98% of issued passports meet the service standards, regardless of the method used to apply. This news comes one year after passport offices across Canada faced an unprecedented surge in demand for new or renewed passports following the lifting of numerous COVID-19-related travel restrictions. Lines at passport offices were frequently long, with some individuals even camping overnight to ensure they could submit their applications in person.

ESDC states that passport staff have been working on service improvements in anticipation of an expected wave of renewals this summer. This summer also marks the expiration of passports issued with a 10-year validity since their introduction in July 2013. These service improvements should facilitate travel plans for new Canadian citizens who wish to visit their loved ones using their new passports.

Furthermore, Service Canada has implemented additional enhancements to passport services in Canada. As of May this year, Canadian citizens with passports that have expired within the past 15 years or those with lost, stolen, or damaged passports can now submit the necessary documents online instead of waiting in line at an office or relying on mail services. However, this online renewal option is not available for first-time passport applicants who are new citizens.

Additionally, Service Canada has opened seven new 10-day passport offices in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia during the spring. These offices are located in Prince George, British Columbia; Lac-Mégantic, Gaspé, and Saint-Georges in Quebec; Timmins and Dryden in Ontario; and Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts in Quebec.

Once an application is submitted, Canadians can track its status using an online passport application status checker. Since its launch on March 21, 2023, the online status checker website has received over 702,000 visits, according to ESDC.