Government of Canada delivers new passport office to the residents of the Okanagan Valley



    KELOWNA, BC, Feb. 19 /CNW Telbec/ - Ron Cannan, Member of Parliament for
Kelowna - Lake Country and the Honourable Stockwell Day, Member of Parliament
for Okanagan - Coquilhalla and Minister of Public Safety, today announced on
behalf of the Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Foreign Affairs, that
Passport Canada will open its next passport office in the City of Kelowna.
    "Our government delivers on its promises. Passport demand in the Okanagan
Valley can now sustain the operation of a passport office, and Passport Canada
is looking at opening one in Kelowna in the next 24 months," said Minister
Bernier.
    "This is great news not only for the people of Kelowna - Lake Country but
all residents of the Southern Interior in British Columbia. This new office
has been wanted and needed for many years and I am proud to deliver the goods
for the residents of Kelowna and the surrounding area,"said Ron Cannan, Member
of Parliament for Kelowna - Lake Country.
    "Over the last few years, a lot of us have worked hard to convince
Passport Canada to open an Okanagan regional office. Finally, I can tell my
constituents they don't have to drive to the coast anymore for passports"
added the Honourable Stockwell Day, Member of Parliament for Okanagan -
Coquilhalla and Minister of Public Safety.
    Passport Canada is funded through the revenues generated by its fees. The
expansion of its service network is based on the financial sustainability of
such initiatives.
    The number of passport applicants in the Okanagan Valley has increased by
10 percent over the past year to over 48,000. As a rapidly growing community
with no Passport Canada office close by, Kelowna meets all the requirements to
have a satellite passport office.
    Satellite passport offices work in conjunction with larger passport
offices to offer the full range of passport services, except the next-day
service, as satellite offices have no local printing capacity.
    Over the past year, Passport Canada has undertaken a series of
initiatives to modernize its services and simplify the passport application
process. In British Columbia, Passport Canada expanded the office in Richmond,
and is currently expanding the office in Victoria. Furthermore, 67 new Service
Canada receiving agents were opened across the country to provide Canadians
with greater access to passport services. There are now 191 passport points of
service across Canada.

    Canadians are reminded that, since January 31, 2008, a new US law
requires Canadians entering the United States by land and marine ports of
entry to present:

    
    - a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver's licence AND a birth
      certificate or a citizenship card; OR
    - for persons aged 18 and under, a birth certificate only; OR
    - a valid Canadian passport.
    




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