passport office toronto

There's a new way to check passport office wait times and Toronto's aren't too bad

If there are any lineups worse than Toronto Pearson International Airport check-in, security or customs these days, it's the ones snaking around blocks near passport offices in the region, which have been so bad that people have actually been camping out overnight or paying people to wait for them in order to secure a spot.

While the federal government deals with a massive pandemic backlog paired with a sudden uptick in travel, residents who need their document renewed or replaced are left stressing about the months-long waits to get a new one sent out, something that remains an issue despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself calling it "unacceptable."

For those with fast-approaching flights abroad, the only option is to go in-person for a walk-up appointment, which is proving to be an utterly painful experience. But now, it's an experience that people can better anticipate and plan for thanks to a new tool.

Ottawa has just added a feature to its website that allows Canadians to check the current wait times at any of the country's 35 passport offices, updated multiple times per day.

Surprisingly, the wait at the Toronto location at 74 Victoria Street is, as of noon on Monday, three hours and 30 minutes — not ideal, but not the worst, and not nearly as bad as the office in Montreal that is seeing up to 700 people per day, necessitating police presence.

Other nearby options are the office in Brampton or Hamilton, which both have a wait time of a whopping five hours at the time of publication. 

Then there's offices in Kitchener, with a wait of five hours and 15 minutes; London, four hours; Mississauga, four hours and 45 minutes; North York or Scarborough, both four and a half hours; or Whitby, one of the worst in not only Ontario but Canada with a wait of six hours (only bested by Ottawa, where you'll wait 45 minutes more than that).

The waits nationwide are pretty consistently brutal, with a few outliers:

If you're willing to make the trip to Windsor, that office seems to be he least busy that is still driveable from Toronto, with an estimated one hour and 45 minute lineup. The Thunder Bay and Saskatoon outposts have waits of only about 30 minutes. St John's, Newfoundland's is an hour.

If your trip itinerary is further out, there are options to book an appointment for processing within three to 45 business days for processing of up to two weeks, plus mail time.

If you can wait 46 business days or more, you can visit any Service Canada Centre (not a designated passport office) on a walk-in or appointment basis, or apply by mail, but keep in mind that processing can take up to nine weeks plus mail time.

Those looking to secure passport services must also note that they will need to provide proof that they have urgently impending travel plans, or else they will be turned away, even if they've waited hours in line.

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