Sudburians won’t be waiting for weeks for their passports anymore, according to the federal government.
This week, Sudbury MP Viviane Lapointe announced that the Sudbury Service Canada Centre downtown will offer a 10-day passport pick-up service that was previously implemented in a handful of other locations in late August.
The service will also be expanded to Kingston, Ont., as well as Lethbridge, Alta., and Sherbrooke, Que.
Lapointe said passport concerns have been especially prevalent in Sudbury in the last few months.
“The greatest volume of calls that we’ve been receiving in our constituency office has been for passport services,” said Lapointe. “We’ve seen a huge increase in people wanting to travel as we come out of COVID. Those increases have made it really difficult for Service Canada to meet the volume of demands.”
The service, which will begin immediately, will ensure that passports are available within 10 business days of the original application, either by mail or in person pick-up.
The Sudbury Service Canada Centre will be one of eight centres across Canada offering this service.
Lapointe said the service targets those facing unexpected or emergency situations, where long waits pose greater challenges. Locally, it also alleviates the need to travel for quick service at another centre.
“This 10-day quick turnaround will greatly help the constituency in Sudbury, and I want to personally thank the minister for making this happen for us today,” said Lapointe.
Karina Gould, minister of Families, Children, and Social Development, did not attend the announcement, but said in a press release that “Service Canada is working tirelessly to identify and implement solutions that not only improve the speedy delivery of passports, but also improve the service experience for Canadians. We will continue to make our services more accessible for all Canadians.”
The service is one of many measures the government said it has implemented in the last few months to mitigate wait times for passports. It added that wait times at call centres have improved from a peak of 108 minutes in April to 28 minutes last week.
“Service Canada is fully committed to providing passport services within 50km of the home of Canadians,” it said in a release.
The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government.
Mia Jensen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star