They warn of long wait times in passport applications

The massive influx of passport applications comes after two years in which most international travel came to a standstill.

Service Canada announced that an “unprecedented increase” in passport applications is causing long wait times at offices across the country.

The demand could be due to many Canadians postponing international travel for much of the pandemic.

The government said the offices were receiving more than 200,000 calls a day asking for new travel documents.

That’s 40 times more than the calls they received before the pandemic, when the agency handled 5,000 calls a day.

Generally, the federal agency has a delivery time of 20 working days, currently the average waiting time is 26 working days.

Service Canada warns of long wait times due to 'unprecedented increase' in passport applications |  Radio Canada
Queue for passport applications. Photography: Radio-Canada

With the easing of pandemic restrictions, thousands of Canadians wishing to travel are flocking to apply for passports.

Service Canada says it processed nearly 1.3 million passports between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022.

This is a sharp increase from the approximately 360,000 passports processed in the previous fiscal year.

To speed things up a bit, people planning to travel next month are given preference.

Additionally, the agency says it has hired 500 people and that staff are working overtime and weekends to reduce backlogs.

If you are planning to travel soon, it is recommended that you check your passport and come to the office as soon as possible if you need to complete any paperwork.

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