The number of spots where Canadians can apply for passports has nearly doubled over the past year, according to Employment and Social Development Canada.
Since 2017, the number of Service Canada offices offering passport services has grown from 151 to 300.
Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen and Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Jean-Yves Duclos made the announcement at Toronto Pearson Airport this morning.
Places with passport receiving agents can accept and process standard adult, child and renewal applications, but don’t handle urgent or express applications. Passport program employees make the final decisions on all applications.
The expansion includes locating more passport officers in rural and remote areas of Canada, said a government release.
Attempts to modernize Canada’s passport program have hit snafus along the way.
The passport modernization project was first approved in December 2013 with a five-year, $101.2 million budget, and was intended to, among other things, let Canadians apply online for renewals. The project was to be complete by June of next year.
But Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada — which has run the passport office since July 2013 — now says modernization will cost at least $176 million and is behind schedule.
Documents obtained by CBC News under the Access to Information Act said that during initial tests, the new system actually increased processing times, rather than decreasing them as planned, and allowed breaches of Canadians’ confidential information.
Last fiscal year, Canada printed more than 4.8 million passports — about 19,000 passports daily.