The task force will look into delays at passport offices
By Diego Flammini
Canada’s minister of rural economic development has been tasked with looking into the delays at government services offices.
Minister Gudie Hutchings is one of 10 cabinet ministers appointed to a new task force to address the issues at passport and immigration offices across the country.
“Folks have been reaching out about the unacceptable line-ups and delays for passports, and I want you know that I hear you,” Hutchings said on Twitter on June 25. “I will be joining a new task force where we will work to address this issue quickly and get all federal services back on track.”
The task force will review service delivery, identify gaps and areas for improvement, and make recommendations to help Canadians receive adequate service.
Other members of the task force include Ministers Mary Ng (trade), Ahmed Hussen (housing) and Sajjan (international development).
Prime Minister Trudeau assembled the task force as stories of lengthy waits at passport and other offices become common for many people.
One Canadian, a woman named Whitney B., flew from Vancouver, B.C., to Edmonton to avoid long lineups.
“Not everyone has six hours to wait,” she said, Black Press Media reported.
Other Canadians are indeed waiting hours to get their passports.
In London, Ont., for example, people have lined up before 4:00 a.m. at the Passport Canada office in Cherryhill Village Mall. The office opens at 8:30 a.m.
The federal government has launched an online resource to help Canadians track wait times at walk-in passport offices.
The wait time at the office at the Canada Place Building in Edmonton, Alta. is estimated at four hours.
Canadians can expect to wait about one hour and 45 minutes at the Hamiton Street office in Regina, Sask.
And if trying to get a passport at the Main Street office in Winnipeg, people could be waiting up to five hours.