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Expect long passport lineups this week, post strike immigration backlog: ministers

May 2, 2023
The Canadian Press

A closeup of the cover of a Canadian passport. Photo: Todd Humber/Talent Canada

A federal minister is advising Canadians to expect long lines at passport offices this week as the public service resumes work following a 12-day strike.

Families minister Karina Gould says the job action did not create a significant backlog, as the federal government received only about 20 per cent of the typical volume of passport applications during the strike.

Gould says a higher volume of applications is expected this week as a result, but is reassuring Canadians that those with urgent travel will be prioritized.

Meanwhile, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser says about 100,000 decisions regarding immigration files were not processed during the strike.


Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has been catching up in recent months from significant backlogs created in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fraser said the recent strike means it will take longer to get back to pre-pandemic service standards, but he expects the department to have an easier time getting through the backlog thanks to recent changes that have boosted productivity in the workforce.

The country’s largest federal public-sector union announced early Monday morning it had reached deals with the government covering more than 120,000 public servants across the country and bringing them back to work.

Talks have resumed between the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency, as some 35,000 CRA employees continue to walk the picket line.

A spokesman for the union said talks are ongoing after continuing late into Monday night.

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