After recognizing as “unacceptable” the situation in the Montreal offices of Service Canada regarding passports this week, Minister Karina Gould says she has noticed “progress” on the ground, particularly at the centers in Saint-Laurent and Laval.
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Ottawa has moved about ten employees per office to manage the crowds that still gather at service centers in the region. These agents will remain on site until midnight, said Mr.me Gould.
The Guy-Favreau center was still heavily congested on Wednesday, and the crowd continued to increase in volume at the start of the afternoon on Thursday.
If the customers of the centers of Saint-Laurent and Laval have in theory all received an appointment ticket, the minister could not however guarantee that everyone will be able to get their hands on their passport in time for their flight.
“It depends if the trip is in an hour or two hours, and it’s very difficult, I have to be [réaliste] in this situation,” she said in an interview with reporters in parliament on Thursday.
Mme Gould also pointed out that some customers have tried to show up at passport offices with fake tickets.
Offshoring of printing
Normally, passports are printed at the office where the applicant does business.
However, since “passport offices are not built to have hundreds of urgent applications every day”, Ottawa decided to run the printers at full speed at its offices in Gatineau and Mississauga, near Toronto, since these centers have greater capacity.
Thus, customers whose flight is in 12 hours or more will most likely receive a passport that will have been printed in one of the two centers.
The printers in the Montreal centers would currently only be used to print the passports of customers whose flight is scheduled in less than 12 hours.