Service Canada has announced a new process for passport processing.
Starting today (July 29), Canadians who provided a duly completed application by mail more than 20 business days ago, and are travelling within the next 20 business days, can visit more than 300 Service Canada Centres to make a transfer request, in order to ensure their application is processed in time.
Previously, Canadians could only request transfers in person at one of 35 specialized passport sites (Service Canada Centre – Passport Services), or by contacting the call centre.
The change is expected to give applicants an additional option to make these requests.
“Depending on the date of travel, the application will either be expedited and the passport will be mailed to the client before the date required, or the file will be transferred to an office for printing and pickup,” said Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Karina Gould on Friday (July 29).
“This change aims to reduce the number of urgent file transfers processed by passport offices and to minimize the burden on local printing facilities at those sites. It will speed up the processing of passport applications when the service standard has not been met and a file transfer has been requested as a result.”
Minister Gould noted that offices should also see a further reduction of lineups associated with urgent requests at passport offices.
(A proof of travel or need will still be required).
If the application was submitted by mail less than 20 business days ago and a transfer is required due to imminent travel, transfer fees will apply and additional fees may apply, the government says.
Minister Gould said the government continues to see improvements in different regions across the country, especially outside large cities.
For example, in Ontario, Service Canada has expanded delivery of passport services to 20 scheduled outreach sites, which allow staff to answer questions and guide clients through the process.
“We are making progress on this challenge, and we will continue to provide options to offer a better service experience to Canadians,” Minister Gould said.
The scheduled outreach sites in Ontario are: Strathroy, Exeter, Tilbury, West Lorne, Wingham, Atikokan, Blind River, Chapleau, Cochrane, Gore Bay, Hearst, Iroquois Falls, Lac Seul First Nation, Pikangikum, Red Lake, Sioux Lookout, Sturgeon Falls, Terrace Bay, Thessalon and Wawa.
For the week of July 18 to 24, the average call centre wait time was 50 minutes, Service Canada says, and during that same period, 51,418 passports were issued.
Since April 1, 2022, Service Canada says it has issued 665,532 passports.