Government of Canada delivers on its promise to ease passport application process



    GATINEAU, QC, Feb. 13 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Maxime Bernier,
Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of
Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, today opened Passport Canada's new
central operations facility and detailed plans to increase capacity in order
to meet growing demand.
    "Our government has delivered on its promise to improve Canada's passport
services by reducing processing delays and making the system more convenient
for Canadians," said Minister Bernier. "The opening of this new facility is
another significant milestone given that it will more than double Passport
Canada's capacity to process mail-in applications - it is an enormous
achievement."
    Passport demand in Canada has reached unprecedented levels since the
United States began requiring a passport to enter the US by air in January
2007. For fiscal year 2007-2008, Passport Canada expects to issue 4.8 million
passports, compared to 3.6 million in 2006-2007 and 3.1 million in 2005-2006.
    "This is great news for the people of the Outaouais region. This larger
facility has been purpose-designed to handle the volume of applications for
Canadian passports," said Minister Cannon. "Passport Canada employees have
responded with determination, commitment and ingenuity to the increased
demand."
    Over the past year, Passport Canada has undertaken a series of
initiatives to modernize its services and simplify the passport application
process. It launched the simplified passport renewal process, and simplified
its guarantor policy. It also expanded its office in Richmond, British
Columbia, and is currently expanding many others, including the offices
located in Victoria, British Columbia and Windsor, Ontario. Furthermore,
67 new Service Canada Receiving Agent outlets across the country were opened
to provide Canadians with greater access to passport services. There are now
191 service locations 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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