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New Canadian Passport Measures Are Coming & The Backlog Could 'Drop Significantly'​

Online passport renewals could soon become a reality.

MTL Blog, Staff Writer
​People stand in line at the passport check-in for a flight at Montreal's Trudeau airport with an Air Canada plane in the background.

People stand in line at the passport check-in for a flight at Montreal's Trudeau airport with an Air Canada plane in the background.

New measures from the federal government could improve wait times for people looking to get a passport in Canada. High demand for several months has resulted in processing backlogs that have seen Quebecers waiting for days and, in some cases, camping outside of Service Canada offices to get new travel documents in time for planned trips.

Federal Minister Karina Gould issued a statement on July 7 calling ongoing passport delays "unacceptable." She said Service Canada has made specialized passport sites "more responsive and efficient" to help Canadians who have urgent passport needs and is planning to expand that strategy to add additional passport offices in the coming weeks.

The move is part of an enhanced triage system that prioritizes people who have urgent travel needs within 24 to 48 hours in Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, B.C. and Alberta.

Specialized staff are also being trained to approve passports, with more employees being added to speed up the renewal process and to handle simple applications more quickly.

The government is now looking into an online portal for passport holders to submit renewal requests online and digitally track their application status.

Applications submitted by mail are processed within 10 weeks on average, while those submitted in person usually take around 10 business days or less.

A simplified renewal application process was introduced in March to make it easier to get your passport when it's expired, lost, stolen, or damaged.

Applicants no longer need to have a guarantor or to provide their so-called "original documents" (i.e. proof of citizenship or photo identification). They simply need two photos, two references, their completed form, and the applicable fees.

"Through continued efforts to maximize efficiency, increase resources and streamline processes, we expect the passport backlog to drop significantly by the end of the summer," Gould said.

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