Skip to content

Ministers’ Update on Passport Pickups, Airport Delays & Immigration Backlogs

Ministers Ien, Miller, Gould, Alghabra, and Fraser, members of the Task Force on Services for Canadians, give an update on recent efforts to enhance government services for Canadians.

Canadians and those who wish to travel, work, study, or establish new lives here deserve effective government services that are accessible, high-quality, and make life easier. 

Accordingly, the Prime Minister announced on June 25, 2022, that a new ministerial task force was formed to enhance governmental services, focusing on minimizing delays in processing passports, immigration procedures, and at Canadian airports. 

The task committee has frequently met all summer to determine actionable priorities and develop immediate and long-term solutions to serve Canadians better.

The task force’s co-chairs, Ministers Ien and Miller, joined Ministers Gould, Alghabra, and Fraser today to present an update on the work done in recent months to address problems with service delivery that affect Canadians. 

The task team reviewed the fundamental causes of the pandemic-related significant increases in demand for travel and other government services, which have been much larger than anticipated. This unprecedented surge in demand is a global phenomenon that has affected people worldwide, including Canadians, and has caused delays.

Update on Passport Pickups

Minister Gould emphasized the critical actions taken to enhance passport processing, such as:

  • Increase workforce at Service Canada, with over 2000 employees offering passport services to help meet the growing demand;
  • Extending simplified passport renewals to adults who received their passport in the last 15 years;
  • A new triage system has been put into place in major cities to control lineups and ensure that Canadians who need passports immediately can get them in time;
  • Passport pick-up services are available in almost all passport offices and four Service Canada Centers. Nine additional Service Canada Centers will now be open in the upcoming weeks;
  • The expansion of passport services is scheduled to 24 outreach sites in Ontario, Québec, and Atlantic Canada, with more to be announced in the coming weeks. It will help satisfy the passport demands of rural and distant areas.

Update On Immigration File Processing And Backlogs

Minister Fraser addressed how Canada is trying to modernize its immigration system, minimize application backlogs, address workforce shortages, improve client experience, and reunite families. This comprises:

  • Hiring up to 1,250 extra employees by the end of the fall to boost processing capacity and tackle backlogs;
  • Modernizing and streamlining operations to increase the long-term sustainability of the Canadian system;
  • Welcoming more than 300,000 new permanent residents by August 22, surpassing the milestone earlier than in any prior year;
  • Granting more than 349,000 new work permits between January 1 and July 31 of this year as opposed to roughly 112,000 during the same time in 2021;
  • Between January 1 and July 31, 2022, close to 360,000 study permits will be finalized, up from roughly 306,000 over the same time in 2021; 
  • Introducing application progress monitors for citizenship and some permanent residency applicants to provide timely information on their files, which will be extended to more clients in the upcoming year;
  • Publish monthly data to keep Canadians up to date on our progress.

Update On Airport Delays

Minister Alghabra emphasized the significant steps the Canadian government has taken in conjunction with industry partners to reduce wait times for passengers and traffic at Canada’s busiest airports, including:

  • Hiring 1,800 screening officers across airports since April 2022;
  • Holding more than 20 meetings with senior executives of all sizes of airports and airlines around the nation to ensure ongoing cooperation and action that will help reduce traveller delays;
  • Transport Canada conducted weekly meetings with airlines, airports, CATSA, NAV CANADA, CBSA, and PHAC to identify and address bottlenecks;
  • To date, Toronto Pearson International Airport has added 12 new eGates, 4 NEXUS-specific eGates, and 30 additional primary inspection kiosks (PIKs) to improve access and quicken traveller processing;
  • Allowing exemptions to new screening officers to work during their training to increase the number of officers on the ground at airports;
  • To facilitate the quick onboarding of new employees into the sector, the number of Transportation Security Clearances granted over the past year has tripled; nationwide wait times for pre-board security screening have decreased;
  • Improvements in passenger screening, from August 18 to 21, 85% of travellers completed their screening within 15 minutes. Compared to the first week of July, there was a 79% improvement;
  • Observing an improvement in the number of planes parked on the tarmac at Canada’s busiest airport, Pearson. More than 370 airplanes were held in one week in May alone, but by the third week of August, that number had decreased to just 47 aircraft.

Source: Government of Canada