This week I faced the dreaded endeavour of passport processing at a Service Canada Centre.
After two separate visits to a local centre, my intended travel dates meant that I had to travel 45-minutes out of town in an attempt to have my passport application processed.
My local passport office could not process my application as I intend to travel in mid-October for work (more to come on that in the weeks ahead). They were only able to process applications that did not intend on travelling before the end of November.
I was sent to a location out of town that was handling my specific travel needs — travelling within two months, but more than 45 days from the date of application, and I had to have a letter from my boss, Ezra Levant, to prove it!
The recommendation was to arrive at 6 a.m., two and a half hours before the 8:30 a.m. scheduled opening time of the office, in hopes of being seen that day. Security has been made aware of this recommendation so they open the strip mall early to accommodate the disaster that are Service Canada Centres.
I arrived just after 6 a.m. with my computer and lawn chair in hand to set up my office for the hours ahead.
Employees came out at approximately 7:45 a.m. with instructions on who would be prioritized. This weeded out a decent chunk of the line, many of whom appeared to be re-directed to other locations based on travel dates and purposes.
Those remaining were given stickers to prove their eligibility.
The line moved quickly at first and I was at the front of the Service Canada Centre office by 9 a.m.
However, due to a mask exemption, I was not allowed inside the Centre. I had to sit to the side and await my documents to be processed — which were handed back and forth between security, myself, and a Service Canada employee with a high-tech viral blocking basket.
From start to finish the endeavour took approximately an hour. Which seemed off, as everyone ahead of me was long gone by the time my documents were processed.
The whole process, from arriving at 6 a.m. to finally leaving with a stamped receipt, took approximately four hours.
With approximately half of the Service Canada employees that handle passport applications working from home, is it any wonder?
The COVID theatre appears to be strongly enforced on the federal level, obviously affecting the structure and function of government services.