Today, the Government of Canada announced that effective immediately, Kingston’s Service Canada centre is now a 10 day passport processing facility. This means that residents in the Kingston area no longer have to travel long distances to have their passports processed. MP Mark Gerretsen was present to make the announcement today.
The announcement was made along with several other locations now being designated a passport pick up location, including Lethbridge, Alberta, Sherbrooke Quebec and Sudbury, Ontario.
Under the expansion of services, Kingston Service Canada at 1300 Bath Rd will become a permanent passport pick up facility. Additionally, residents can now have their passports processed in 10 business days if proof of travel or need is shown.
The service is applicable to individuals who are leaving within 45 to 10 business days. Those who are leaving in less than 10 days would still need to go to a passport processing facility in Toronto or Ottawa.
The announcement comes after months of Service Canada facing serious passport delays. Locally the delays became so severe that MP Mark Gerretsen established a separate contact form for passport inquiries, where he wrote that he doesn’t recommend that constituents use a Service Canada’s “inquiry” tool on its website, as they wouldn’t receive an answer.
Social Development Minister Karina Gould now says that the backlog is easing and so is the wait time at call centres.
“The average wait time at call centres has also improved, going from a peak of 108 minutes in April to 28 minutes last week,” the minister said in a statement. Since April 1, 2022, Service Canada has issued 912,236 passports.
While many residents applauded the announcements, others were skeptical.
“I did a similar service they were offering 6 months ago. With proof of travel. And well… Still no passport 6 months later” one user said on social media.
Despite their still being passport delays, Minister Gould says that Service Canada is working “tirelessly” to improve the application process.