Passport lines persist as urgent travellers get priority
Canadians travelling in the next 24 to 48 hours are being given priority at some passport offices.
The move comes amid widespread reports of long lines and growing frustration with passport processing delays, which have seen Canadians miss flights, cancel trips and even camp out overnight to secure their travel documents.
"Before it was first come, first served," Ferdinand Pollak told CTV News from a growing line in Montreal for those departing in the next 24 hours. "Now they change their mind, they go by departure time and dates."
On a federal government website, it states “We have new measures to help manage wait times at passport offices in Toronto, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Montreal and Vancouver. We’ll prioritize those who need a passport within 48 hours. We’ll make arrangements for people with longer term travel plans to be served at other locations."
Despite being given priority, others remain uncertain in Montreal, which is facing the longest waits in the country.
"We travel tomorrow at nine-and-a-half so we don't know if we will have our passport on time or not," Dekra Bouissi told CTV News from a snaking line of camping chairs.
On top of missing work and scrambling for childcare, expensive flights are at stake. Others are urgently trying to see loved ones before it's too late.
"We really need to go to my homeland in South America, because my dad is fading, he is fading fast," Ludwing Perea Melendez told CTV New from London, Ont.
His wife and five children camped out in the family van, determined to be the first in line Monday morning after being turned away last week.
"Our kids slept there like sardines," Perea Melendez said.
In Fredericton, Richard Caguioa told CTV News he had gone to great lengths, or about 2,000 km, in the hopes of getting a passport.
"I flew from Iqaluit, Nunavut because my son's passport hasn't arrived yet from two months ago or three, almost three," he said from a line.
On Monday, the federal government announced the creation of a new task force to help tackle major delays with immigration applications and passport processing.