For months now, Canadians applying for new passports have faced uncertainty due to increased wait times.
On Monday, the minister responsible for passports claimed that the backlog should be dealt with by the end of the summer, after the travel-heavy peak season.
According to CTV News, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Karina Gould admitted that while the government "did anticipate a surge," they did not consider just how great the surge would be.
Service Canada locations across the country have seen lineups stretch around the block, with those most desperate arriving in the early hours of the morning in hopes of receiving their documents.
Gould referred to the situation as "totally unacceptable."
She noted that since January 2022, 600 additional passport officers have been hired, and by the end of summer, all will have finished their twelve to fifteen weeks of training and be able to conquer the backlog.
People who are travelling within forty-eight hours will still be prioritized if they show up to the office in person, Gould said, adding, "But that’s not where we want to be."
"Where we want to be is people getting their passports well in advance when they apply and that's what we're working towards in the next four to six weeks."
In June, Conservative MP and prime-ministerial hopeful Pierre Poilievre highlighted the case of one woman who submitted her passport application in April, but had still not received her documents. With only two days to go before her trip, she had slept in front of the passport office to increase her chances of success.
"The Trudeau government is offering you a new vacation deal," Poilievre quipped. "Apply for a passport and get a free camping trip at the passport office!"
MP Melissa Lantsman also slammed the Trudeau Liberals for their handling of the situation, pressing Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children, and Social Development Ya'ara Saks on the government's insistence on blaming the backlog on a "surge" of applications.
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