Passport crisis: Waiting in line for 32 hours and leaving empty-handed

The Trudeau government claims it is doing everything in its power to resolve the situation, but the opposition is growing impatient and calling for swift action.

To broadcast All in one morningMonday, Ms Mansouri said she had planned her trip to Spain well, where she enrolled in a week-long course at the end of June. She had applied for her passport in April by post. He was then told that the process would take about four weeks, maximum eight.

For weeks after receiving nothing in the mail, she did as thousands of Canadians do: she queued outside the Service Canada office in Laval, just hours from her trip.

h du matin jeudi, je suis repartie un peu après midi vendredi. Une fois devant les portes, après avoir fait tout le tour de l’édifice en file, après avoir campé là, on s’est fait dire que, finalement, il n’y avait pas assez de ressources pour qu’on puisse passer pour avoir notre passeport cette journée-là.”,”text”:”Je suis arrivée à 4h du matin jeudi, je suis repartie un peu après midi vendredi. Une fois devant les portes, après avoir fait tout le tour de l’édifice en file, après avoir campé là, on s’est fait dire que, finalement, il n’y avait pas assez de ressources pour qu’on puisse passer pour avoir notre passeport cette journée-là.”}}”>I arrived at 4am on Thursday, I left just after noon on Friday. When we got to the door after walking in line around the building after camping there we were told that ultimately there weren’t enough resources to have our pass that day.

There was a prioritization of people leaving within the next 12 hours. Those who left over the weekend have been put aside as passport offices are known to be closed on Saturdays and Sundays. »

A quote from Lyna Mansouri

Things haven’t improved since then, far from it. Tension ran elsewhere on Tuesday morning at the Complexe Guy-Favreau in Montreal. The citizens managed the queue and the waiting list themselves and lamented the lack of organization from the federal government. The police arrived at the scene of the crime in the late morning.

A indescribable chaosdeplores the opposition

Far from satisfying the opposition, these promises underscore the negligence of Secretary Karina Gould and her government.

The minister visited a passport center yesterday to find solutions [lundi]. Yesterday! Not even a month ago! And that was over a month ago nowthe bloquiste deputy Alain Therrien complained on Tuesday.

He also regretted that the members of parliament, whose constituency offices are overwhelmed with requests for help from citizens, could not get clear and quick answers.

Bloc Québécois MP Alain Therrien

Photo: The Canadian Press/PATRICK DOYLE

It is a government of laggards, unable to foresee, unable to actadded Mr Therrien in an interview on Tuesday All in one morning.

If he believes that the government should have prevented this crisis so predictable A long time ago, the La Prairie member thought it was time to do more to help Canadians: We have to be open seven days a week, we are in a crisis, this is essential. Teleworkers will have to go back to work onsite.

Everything must be done to serve the citizen who pays his taxes and does not deserve this fate. »

A quote from Alain Therrien, MP for the Bloc Québécois

Quebec Minister Sonia LeBel also took to Twitter on Tuesday to put pressure on Ottawa.

The situation many Quebecers are experiencing in passport offices is unfortunate, she wrote. It’s crazy to see people camping to get a pass. We call on the federal government to find a solution quickly so that inquiries can be processed more adequately.

People are already working day and nightassures Ottawa

We’re doing everything we can to speed up the process.replied Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, well aware of the situation when asked about the possibility of opening the offices 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

We do everything possible [et] it has allowed us to issue 360,000 passports since April 1; 100% of passport offices are open, staff continue to work overtime daily and weekends. »

A quote from Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

In the interview at world timeOn Tuesday, Minister in charge of the file, Karina Gould, acknowledged that that was the situation unacceptablestating that the situation was greatest in Montreal difficult in the country.

The minister recalled that 1,200 employees had been hired or were in the process of regaining employment in order to regain control.

Service Canada has also applied for staff loans from Revenue Canada, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, and Global Affairs Canada. Ms. Gould hopes to loan out at least 200 staff.

Responding to the opposition’s request to extend the opening hours of Service Canada counters, the minister replied that staff were already working a lot of overtime.

heures par jour: quand les bureaux sont ouverts au public, ils reçoivent les demandes, et après leur fermeture, ils traitent ces demandes et impriment les passeports”,”text”:”Nous sommes en train d’étudier chaque solution possible, mais les employés de Service Canada travaillent 12, 14, 16heures par jour: quand les bureaux sont ouverts au public, ils reçoivent les demandes, et après leur fermeture, ils traitent ces demandes et impriment les passeports”}}”>We are considering every possible solution, but Service Canada staff are working 12, 14, 16 hour days. When the offices are open to the public they take applications and after they close they process those applications and print passportsshe explained.

A situation that could get worse

The situation was indeed predictable, confirms Mehran Ebrahimi, director of the International Observatory of Aeronautics and Civil Aviation.

Several people have postponed their passport applications over the two years of the pandemic, he explains. Now, with the easing of restrictions on foreign travel, everyone wants to benefit.

According to the President of the National Employees Union, Kevin King, the situation will not calm down anytime soon because it takes 12 weeks to train a passport officer. In the coming days, with the start of the school holidays, things could get even worse.

Whatever action the government takes in the short or medium term, it will be too late for Lyna Mansouri. She missed her flight and at the same time her course in Spain.

My class has started [lundi] and lasts a week, so I’m not going. I canceled my trip. I don’t know if I will get my money back. Nothing is safe.

And like many others, she has no way of getting back the lost money, time, and energy. The Travelers Charter, which came into force in 2019, regulates the obligations of the airlines towards their passengers, but not those of the government, says Mehran Ebrahimi.

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