Service Canada is warning Canadians to expect longer lineups and delays in service as Passport offices catch up now that the federal workers' labour action has ceased.
As Open Jaw reported, Ottawa and 120,000 of its workers who are members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada announced Monday, 01MAY, that they had reached a tentative new labour agreement. Over 155,000 federal workers had been on strike since 19APR. Non-emergency passport processing was put on hold during the strike, and in addition, striking workers picketed some passport offices.
However, with the 01MAY deal reached, workers covered by the new agreement returned to work Monday. 35,000 unionized CRA workers remain on strike.
Service Canada said in a statement 02MAY that it received 81 per cent fewer passport applications during the nearly 2-week strike period. That means it's expecting a spike now workers are back on the job.
“While the labour disruption has had impacts on passport services, we are in a strong position to recover quickly, address any new backlogs or delays, and ensure Canadians receive the passport service they have rightly come to expect," said Karina Gould, the minister responsible for passport services.
The passport office says its service delivery standard is 10 business days to process in-person passport applications received at a specialized passport office or at a Service Canada Centre offering 10-day service, and 20 business days for applications dropped off at a regular Service Canada Centre or received by mail.
That said, it warns that recovery following the strike may result in longer processing times until the demand returns to normal levels.
To manage lineups at Passport offices and Service Canada Centres, the minister says staff will prioritize clients with more urgent passport needs, including imminent travel.
Canadians are being told they do not need to arrive or line up prior to the opening of offices to be served that day. Staff will triage and manage lines to serve clients throughout the day.
For those who submitted an application during the labour disruption, Service Canada says it has received the application and it will be processed. There is no need to re-apply.
Clients who applied prior to the labour disruption, and whose application is currently in processing can contact the Passport Call Centre or visit a Passport Office to request that their application be prioritized if they have an imminent need.
Canadians can get real-time updates on the processing of their applications through the online passport status checker.