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Trudeau's passport delays cause 12-year-old with brain tumour to miss medical appointment

A Montreal girl was forced to miss an important follow-up appointment due to Service Canada delays and it is still unclear if she'll make her rescheduled appointment.

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A Montreal girl recovering from a rare brain tumour was forced to miss a much-needed medical appointment due to delays with Service Canada processing her passport application.

Gabriella Segal-Dowers, 12, first applied for the passport in June and was told at the time that it would take six weeks, according to CBC. More than 15 weeks later and she is still unsure as to when she will receive it. 



The initial appointment was supposed to be on August 22 at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, in Memphis, Tennessee. She was forced to cancel that and now has a rescheduled appointment on November 20.

Since being diagnosed in September 2021, Gabrielle lost her peripheral vision, went through surgery to remove the tumor, and has missed almost a year from school.
 

"It's urgent for me to go," Gabriella said. "I want to know that everything is OK, and my brain is OK. I worry about it a lot." 

Whether she will make this appointment is still up in the air. 

After months of delays, Gabriella's mother, Kim Segal, says a Service Canada representative told her she MAY be able to pick up the passport on Nov. 14.

"It's like torture by water drops," Segal told CBC, describing the difficulty to secure her daughter's passport in time for the appointment.

"When you go through something so devastating as your child having a brain tumour, …every other added stress is just another drop. It makes life very hard."

Usually, for urgent passport applications, applicants must submit their documents to a passport office that specifically offers urgent services, along with proof of travel, but because Segal applied so far in advance, she didn't feel like she needed to apply urgently.

Despite a handful of Service Canada representatives confirming the file was still pending, it appears that it was neglected for months. She was finally informed on November 3, more than four months after first applying in person, that the application was incomplete.

"I was just flabbergasted that it took them this long to tell me that I was missing these documents, to even open the file five months later," Segal said. "It's shameful."



Canada has been plagued with passport delays and massive lines at Service Canada offices since earlier in the year. Trudeau said at the time that he expected the backlog to be cleared by the end of the summer.

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