Thursday, December 01, 2022

After several days in line, Montreal travelers finally receive an appointment for a passport renewal. Nation World News

Nelly Kamagou is hoping she can get her and her children’s passports before their flight to Cameroon tonight.

After waiting in line outside the passport office at Montreal’s Guy-Favreau complex since Monday, it looked grim, but now she’s finally got an appointment.

“I feel better,” she said. “I have hope now. I’m already in so… I’m very happy.”

Kamagou was one of hundreds who waited in line on Wednesday morning, queuing around the block as passengers scrambled to renew their passports.

The federal government in Montreal implemented a new system on Wednesday after Karina Gould, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, said delays at Guy-Favreau office were the worst in the country.

One by one, those waiting for Wednesday morning started getting tickets with a fixed appointment time, so that they could leave and come back with the least delay.

It felt like light at the end of the tunnel for some who have been sleeping outside for days at a time.

But as of 9:15 a.m., Service Canada employees said the Passport Office had reached its capacity for the day and would not schedule more appointments, with those waiting in line to return tomorrow.

“I want a bed,” lamented Maxim Renaud-Blondo, who has also been waiting outside since Monday.

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He has already missed a flight. He was to fly to Atlanta on Wednesday morning. He said that if he doesn’t get the passport today, he is giving up on his journey altogether.

“I’m just going to say: I’m not going, mom, I’m not coming,” he said.

Before the new system was implemented, waiters took matters into their own hands, implementing their first-come-first-served system to save people from queuing up. Eventually the police had to be called to control the crowd.

The police were called again on Wednesday after tensions escalated over the news that there were no more appointments. Officials were also called to the Passport Office in Laval.

missed flights

Camping overnight outside Guy-Favreau did nothing for Meriem Habibi and her family, who missed their flight to Morocco this afternoon. After being unable to process documents since March, she was in the queue for renewal of her daughter’s passport.

“We expect to enter tomorrow so we’re going to stay overnight again,” she said. “I’ve already paid $2,400 for each ticket, for a family of four.”

She says Service Canada staff told her months ago that the passport “might not be there” so it was better to file an urgent application 48 hours before travel. By then, workers told her they were not issuing passports for requests made 48 hours before departure dates and that she should file another last-minute application 24 hours before her flight.

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lack of planning

Gould told reporters on Tuesday that more than 500 people lined up outside passport offices in Montreal.

“I spoke to the Quebec regional manager, who assured me that each of Service Canada managers and their teams are continuing to talk with people on the line and making sure they are being tried as needed. ,” He said.

The system implemented in Montreal – where Service Canada managers greet waiting people early in the morning and hand them out tickets – is already in place at other passport offices in Canada, including the greater Toronto area and Vancouver, Gould. was confirmed.

Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchett said the federal government should consider compensation to those who suffered financial losses due to delays in processing and urged the prime minister to display “minimal compassion” for those still waiting. .

“I can’t believe thousands of people will swallow the damage caused by precisely because of the lack of basic planning of the government,” he said.

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