Travellers face 2-month wait for passports - Yahoo! Canada News: "Travellers face 2-month wait for passports
Fri Feb 9, 11:53 PM
Canadians scrambling to obtain passports before a March break holiday may be out of luck, with waiting times now stretching to 60 days, Passport Canada says.
Passport Canada spokeswoman Francine Charbonneau said the agency is receiving high volumes of applications, averaging about 21,000 a day. On a busy day last year, the office would have received about 13,000 applications
'At this point your only chance if you want to travel for March break is to apply in person and even that's not a guarantee because of these backlogs,' she said.
If an application has recently been submitted by mail, people can call a 1-800 number to have their passport application returned to them.
In the case of an emergency such as a death in the family, illness or a last-minute business trip, passport officers can fast-track applications.
'It's up to the discretion of the passport officer,' Charbonneau said, noting that a last-minute flight to Florida would not qualify as an urgent situation.
Print centres running round-the-clock
While the office hired 200 new officers in November to help with the deluge, they're still having trouble meeting the demand.
'We're doing everything we can,' she said, noting that the office's print centres in Mississauga, Ont., and Gatineau, Que., have boosted their production.
'We are running our print centres on 24-hour clocks, which is something that's never been done before,' Charbonneau said.
A U.S. law that took effect on Jan. 23, 2007, requires that all Canadians flying to the U.S. have a valid passport."