Service Canada has announced that passport delivery times have returned to pre-pandemic processing times, according to a recent news release from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). The report states that there are no longer any backlogs in passport applications, and Service Canada is exceeding delivery standards for most applications. This achievement is notable considering a brief disruption caused by a strike by the Public Service Alliance of Canada, which lasted from April 19 to May 1.
ESDC reports that approximately 98% of issued passports are being delivered within the service standards, regardless of the intake method.
This news comes one year after passport offices across Canada faced an unprecedented surge in demand for new or renewed passports following the relaxation of many COVID-19-related travel restrictions. Long queues and wait times at passport offices became a common sight, with some individuals even camping overnight to ensure their applications could be submitted in person.
In anticipation of a wave of passport renewals expected this summer, the department has been working on service improvements. Canada introduced passports with 10 years of validity in July 2013, and many of these passports will soon expire. The enhanced service will help new Canadian citizens plan their travel to visit loved ones with their new passports during the summer.
Service Canada has made other improvements to passport services across the country. It’s important to note that passports are only available to Canadian citizens.
To maintain service standards, Service Canada has implemented online renewal options. Starting in May of this year, individuals 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 mailing important documents.
However, this online renewal option does not apply to new citizens applying for their first Canadian passport.
Furthermore, during the spring, Service Canada opened seven new 10-day passport offices in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia. These offices are located in Prince George, British Columbia; Lac-Mégantic, Quebec; Gaspé, Quebec; Saint-Georges, Quebec; Timmins, Ontario; Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Quebec; and Dryden, Ontario.
Once an application is submitted, Canadians can track their passport application status online using the online passport application status checker. Since the service’s launch on March 21, 2023, the online status checker website has received over 702,000 visits, according to ESDC.
In summary, Service Canada has successfully addressed passport application backlogs and returned to pre-pandemic processing times. They have achieved this through improvements in service, the introduction of online renewal options, and the opening of additional passport offices. These measures ensure that Canadian citizens, including new passport holders, can make travel plans and visit loved ones with ease this summer.