MONTREAL, Canada – Canadians wanting to journey following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions are going through lengthy waits to get a passport, with a whole lot camped out for days in Montreal the place police had been known as to tame the indignant crowd.
Comparable scenes have performed out throughout the nation, whereas delays at airport safety checkpoints for flights have compounded public outrage.
“It’s only a catastrophe, you may’t name it anything,” Cheikh Diop, 34, who waited nearly 24 hours within the Montreal line to get his daughter’s passport, instructed AFP.
“We waste time, we’ve got no life. Individuals must journey,” he mentioned, including that the surge in demand ought to have been anticipated by the federal government.
Mylene Lemmel, 41, mentioned she had “slept right here, within the rain” to select up her passport for a flight the subsequent day.
She utilized for the journey doc in early April, and described the scene outdoors the Montreal workplace as “chaotic.”
“It’s anxiety-provoking, it’s not straightforward,” she mentioned.
Some individuals mentioned they had been being paid by the hour to attend on behalf of others.
Police had been known as in to manage the road that spilled onto a busy downtown avenue.
The minister accountable for passport workplaces, Karina Gould, has confronted a barrage of criticism concerning the delays. The lengthy traces, she instructed parliament on Thursday, are “not acceptable.”
She mentioned that 1,200 new employees, in addition to non permanent transfers from different authorities departments would quickly assist scale back the backlog.
“Persons are excited to journey once more and so I perceive the place that is coming from, and we’re making an attempt to do all the pieces we will to unravel the state of affairs,” Gould mentioned.
She famous that pressing requests for passports have jumped from about 5 p.c of functions previous to the pandemic to nearly 50 p.c now.
She additionally mentioned 85 p.c of functions are for first-time passports, which take longer to course of.
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