Updates from June, 2022 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 19:35 on 2022-06-21 Permalink | Reply  

    Police were called Tuesday to restore order at the line for passports in the Guy Favreau complex. CBC has a headline saying travellers took matters into their own hands – whatever that means. Spokespeople from other governments and departments are called on to say how deplorable the delays are – but they certainly don’t seem to be solely the fault of travellers leaving things till the last minute. The feds are said to be recruiting more workers and seconding people from other departments to do passport processing.

    • dhomas 19:50 on 2022-06-21 Permalink

      I didn’t understand that headline, either. How were they taking things into their own hands? Printing out fake passports? Makes no sense.

      I’m still waiting for my kids’ passports. There was no availability to take an appointment in person so we mailed them out last month. At the time, the website said the regular delay was about 20 days and currently 7 weeks “due to high volumes”. The delay keeps going up, though. Now, it’s up to 9 weeks and I have yet to receive any news.

      We’re leaving July 24th, and I have to say, I’m getting a little nervous.

    • steph 20:12 on 2022-06-21 Permalink

      Blaming “travellers leaving things till the last minute.” is deceitful. They’re activly telling people to “come back the day before your flight for the express service’. They won’t serve you if you’re not leaving tomorrow….

    • Spi 20:28 on 2022-06-21 Permalink

      I think the point is that you shouldn’t wait till the last moment to renew or apply for a passport. So part of the problem is the government being willfully inept and unprepared and the other part is people waiting until their passport is expired or about to. Just because it expires by a certain dates doesn’t mean you should wait until then to get a new one. I also read that 2012 was the first year of 10-year passports so a whole glut of them came up for renewal at the same time.

    • Michael 22:46 on 2022-06-21 Permalink

      Last week I looked for pass port renewal and they said on the website there is express passport service for a few days. Good thing I am not in a rush and can wait a few months.

      They need to change that on the website.

    • Tim S. 08:14 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

      I went to a Service Canada location a couple of weeks ago to submit my renewal (travelling in late September, fingers crossed) and they were quite happy to tell anyone who was travelling within 45 business days to go line up at the downtown passport office for the express service. The lineup went down by half when the guy came out to announce that. So a lot of the people at Guy Favreau aren’t irresponsible people who waited until four days before travelling to renew, but might have tried to apply 8 weeks in advance and were told that this was their only option.

    • Mark 09:31 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

      Also, just FYI as this really saved my trip this summer. Kids under 16 can travel into the USA without a passport, they just need a long birth certificate. Our passports are valid, the kids are not and I’m not even bothering. So we’re driving to NYC, leaving the car at Newark and flying to Cali to visit family.

    • Em 09:51 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

      I know people who mailed in their renewals at the beginning of March and haven’t gotten them yet. And now everyone who tried to renew in a reasonable timeframe is being pushed back by the rush orders, meaning they too will be in trouble.

      Part of the complaints was the fact that there was no information or people managing the line. Would it be so hard to give people a number so they can go do something else and come back later? Or give an estimated wait time, even a rough one?

      I wouldn’t book a trip without a valid passport, or let mine expire, but it’s not unreasonable to expect the government to be able to manage this better.

    • Bert 10:18 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

      The commonly applied rule is that your expected return date from an international must be 6 months before the expiry of your passport. Otherwise you will be (can be) denied entry to the foreign country. Some countries require an even wider gap between return date and expiry date.

      Add to that, that when “renewing” a passport you have to provide your current passport. So, even if someone is proactive initiates a request 2 years early, you have no passport as soon as you request your new / surrender your old one.

    • Spi 10:35 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

      “managing a line” is a lot more complex than it might seem, especially when it’s a line of human being. Handing out numbers inevitably opens the door to people selling their place in line. They’re currently only processing demands that are within 48 hours of departure, people have resorted to buying fully refundable tickets for the next day while in line to try and cheat the priority system and get their passport that day.

      Any attempt to making the experience less awful inevitably makes it more difficult to manage, increasing frustration and upping tensions.

      The vast majority of people can find a period of a few months in their lives where they won’t be traveling and renew their passport during that period.

    • John B 11:00 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

      The irony of this is that after seeing what’s going on, I’m going to check the expiry of my family’s passports today and start a renewal process for any that are close to expiring or expired. We have no plans to travel internationally, but if people are waiting 3+ months to get their passports back it makes no sense to wait.

      So because of the backlog I, and anyone thinking like me, are being motivated to make the backlog even larger.

    • Joey 12:16 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

      I wonder if senior officials have examined the possiblity of blanket extending all passports by X months to at least stop the bleeding a bit. Or maybe work out bilateral agreements with the top five or 10 destination countries to relax entry requirements temporarily. For example, children under 16 don’t need a passport to cross a land border to the U.S., but they do need one for air travel. While, presumaby, there’s some logic behind that policy, the passport requirement for air travel could probably be suspended temporarily so long as other conditions are met (e.g., the child is travelling with a parent who has a valid passport).

      It seems pretty clear that the phenomenon John B describes (long lines casuing more people to apply earlier for renewals) will only excerbate the immediate problem. The fact that there is no online appointment/queuing system is nuts. It can be done without creating a black market for spots, by tying the appointment time to the specifc passport request.

      In three years we’ll get some great access-to-information stories about how bad the actual wait time is…

    • Blork 12:20 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

      Just checked mine. I got one of those “10 year” passports a couple of years ago. However, unlike my unrivalled sense of direction, I have no sense of the passage of time. Sure enough, “a couple of years ago” was actually 2013, so I guess I need to start thinking about renewing. Not now, but in the fall when there’s less travel and hopefully less of a crush.

    • Ephraim 13:22 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

      The domain passportcanadasucks.com is readily available 🙂

    • jeather 14:35 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

      I also checked mine recently having remembered vaguely going with a friend to get Baby’s First Passport, which would have been early 2014, but apparently I just signed the documents (“this baby definitely is the baby I know and not just some generic baby”) and got mine at the same time as Kiddo’s Second Passport in early 2019, I was very relieved. For reasons at the time I waited until I was just under 1 year expired, which I should have known because I remember having to get one like, 2 months before the 10 year passports were available.

      I know people who applied in March and still don’t have passports.

    • walkerp 15:36 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

      I would love to get a full expose on the inside issues going on in these departments that are causing the slowdowns. I suspect a huge factor is that senior management dug their heels in on working from home (and the very really difficulty in putting systems in place to manage the processes remotely and securely). The actual printing may be a bottleneck as well, as that really does require people to be in the workplace.

      This (and the lack of any sophisticated queuing/reservation systems as others here have mentioned) demonstrate a real failure on the part of the Liberals. They have been in power long enough now that they should be spending more time and money reinforcing our bureaucracy against a dynamic and challenging future.

    • steph 16:03 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

      People who requested a passport in march still didn’t get theirs (“Processing may take up to 9 weeks”). The situation is worse today. People renewing their passports today by mail will have to wait how long??? There’s reason to be enraged.
      Everywhere I turn government services are deplorable. What can we do about it?

    • Spi 16:10 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

      Karina Gould (the minister responsible) was on the radio this morning attempting to provide answers. Although they had anticipated a spike in demand what they didn’t expect was the mix of demands between new applications and renewals, apparently 85% of demands are for new passports. Which could be for a first time passport or to replace one that’s been expired for more than a year. That process being more laborious than a renewal.

      Although there are similar scene elsewhere in the country none are as pressing and bad as the situation here, so that begs the question. What is going on in Montreal that makes it worse?

  • Kate 19:30 on 2022-06-21 Permalink | Reply  

    The body of a young woman was found on the riverbank in Lasalle on Tuesday afternoon, and is believed to be a teenager recently declared missing. All reports suggest she fell in by accident.

    • Kate 12:13 on 2022-06-21 Permalink | Reply  

      It’s National Indigenous People’s Day, and here are some notes on activities from Radio-Canada and CBC.

      • Kate 11:22 on 2022-06-21 Permalink | Reply  

        McGill is closing its Conservatory of Music at the end of this summer, saying it’s not financially sustainable. The Conservatory has been operating since 1904.

        • JaneyB 11:49 on 2022-06-21 Permalink

          Ah…it’s the Conservatory, not the actual School of Music. Whew!

        • Kate 19:09 on 2022-06-21 Permalink

          It’s nonetheless a bad move on their part. From what I understand, conservatory teaching is where many serious musicians and music teachers get their start. They’re cutting their music program off at the knees.

        • Spi 19:20 on 2022-06-21 Permalink

          So how many of a given incoming student class passed through the conservatory?

        • Kate 19:57 on 2022-06-21 Permalink

          I don’t think anyone keeps that statistic, Spi. There are people fighting to keep the Conservatory operating, but they may not be able to access that kind of information in time.

        • Spi 20:30 on 2022-06-21 Permalink

          I would imagine McGill has that information, and could judge for itself if it was a bad move on their part and if it was indeed harming their music programs.

        • Kate 20:39 on 2022-06-21 Permalink

          A lot of things in a university are pulled this way and that by people who aren’t putting the benefit of the students, the teachers or indeed the university itself first.

        • EmilyG 22:39 on 2022-06-21 Permalink

          It’s sad. The arts need more support.

        • dwgs 06:49 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

          Sadly, at McGill these days it’s often the bureaucratic tail wagging the educational dog.

        • Uatu 13:54 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

          Most higher education these days is more money making business than education.

        • Thibault 16:24 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

          McGill’s $1.8 billion endowment not going to spend a dime to maintain McGill’s reputation apparently.

      • Kate 08:42 on 2022-06-21 Permalink | Reply  

        I think non-users can see this Facebook post by councillor Sylvain Ouellet, with a photo essay on the new metro garage at Côte‑Vertu, which he calls a “cathédrale souterraine.”

        • Kate 07:58 on 2022-06-21 Permalink | Reply  

          As also noted in an update below, Montreal is definitely welcoming the second part of the COP15 conference on biodiversity loss this December. It’s too bad the visitors won’t see the city in spring or fall, and I’m wondering whether Chinese officials resent losing the conference, which should have taken place in Kunming in October.

          • Robert H 11:27 on 2022-06-21 Permalink

            Glad Montreal landed the COP15 anyway, but disappointed in the timing. Kunming, yet another of China’s enormous, little-known cities would seem to be a better place to have a december conference with its mild winter climate and scenic location. Instead, it’s goodbye to attendees soaking up Montreal’s autumnal glory. We all love summer here, but the real sweet spot for me has always been those last two weeks in September and the first two of October with those cool, crisp and beautiful days you mentioned. By the end of the month it’s already gone, along with the technicolor foliage. Oh well, hope it’s a productive conference, but I just know that many of the participants will complain about having had to pass more than a week in some grey icebox of a city.

          • Kate 12:15 on 2022-06-21 Permalink

            I imagine it’s going to take a little more lead time to move the event here. But yes, Montreal in December can be a trip, and not a good one, if you’re not accustomed to it.

          • DeWolf 09:30 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

            I think you’re forgetting that people who live in warmer climates find winter charming, maybe even exhilarating. Especially in December when the city is full of festive decorations and lights and the real winter cold hasn’t yet begun.

        • Kate 07:54 on 2022-06-21 Permalink | Reply  

          Tenants in a building owned by Brandon Shiller and Jeremy Kornbluth are taking them to court for $1.7 million as the duo tries to evict them. Removing firewalls then getting the fire department to issue an emergency eviction order is a pretty low tactic.

          • SMD 08:42 on 2022-06-21 Permalink

            There is literally a Club d’investisseurs immobiliers du Québec where paid “coaches” train landlords in these dirty tactics. Today La Presse reports on some of the tactics that one of the coaches himself is using to push out low-income tenants from a newly-acquired building.

          • Kate 08:43 on 2022-06-21 Permalink

            Thanks for adding this, SMD.

          • Meezly 09:34 on 2022-06-21 Permalink

            For a split second, I saw “cockroaches” instead of coaches, which is quite apropos, I must say.

            It’s petty yet heartening to see Shiller and Kornbluth being publicly dragged once again.

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