The nationwide Canadian federal workers strike that began today will have a major impact on passport applications and renewals, according to the federal government.
Karina Gould, minister of families, children, and social development, says that as a result of the labour disruption, a majority of Canadians will not be able to apply for or renew a passport.
“By law, passport services are essential and a priority only in emergency or humanitarian situations,” she said during a press conference in Ottawa on Wednesday.
The “very limited” services will only be available at passport offices or at Service Canada centres that are consolidated passport offices.
Gould defined humanitarian and emergency situations as the following:
- Passport clients at risk of financial hardship
- Passport clients who rely on travel as a source of employment, and whose income security will be jeopardized without access
- Passport clients who must travel for medical reasons, or who’ve had a death or illness in the family, and whose situation is deemed urgent
- Passport clients deemed urgent on compassionate grounds
“Passport applications that do not meet these criteria will not be considered essential and will not be processed,” she stressed.
According to Gould, if the ESDC loses a week of processing time, tens of thousands of files in that inventory will move out of service standard and become a backlog.
“The longer we are in this position, the worse that problem becomes,” she said. “It would take some time to resolve.”