Nova Scotia

Canada Post loses man's passport, sparking 'nightmare of any immigrant'

A Nova Scotia man wants Canada Post to explain how they lost his passport and why they gave it to someone else without getting the required signature. 

Fibin Joseph was supposed to fly to India in January, but is now stuck in Nova Scotia without a passport

Fibin Joseph says he kept his passport in a safe space all the time, until he handed it to Canada Post. Now he's stuck in Canada as he tries to find the lost passport, or apply for a new one. (CBC)

A Nova Scotia man wants Canada Post to explain how it lost his passport and why it gave it to someone else without getting the required signature. 

Fibin Joseph moved from India to Nova Scotia in spring 2019 to attend Cape Breton University and now lives in Halifax. He had planned to visit his family in India last year, but COVID-19 wrecked that prospect. 

He rebooked his flight for January 2022 and sent his Indian passport to Ottawa to get it stamped with a new Canadian temporary resident visa. His sister and brother are flying home from the U.K. to meet him in India.

"So it was after a long time, we're going to see each other, my brothers and my family. I was pretty much excited already," he told CBC News Monday. 

He'd paid Canada Post to have his passport tracked — and to require a signature on delivery. It got to Ottawa, was signed for, and returned. The tracking information said it arrived back in Halifax on Oct. 17, and was delivered at noon the next day.

Joseph went to his community mailbox, but the passport wasn't there. It hadn't turned up by the next day so he contacted Canada Post. It didn't know where it had delivered his passport, or why it had given it to someone without collecting a signature.

Canada Post tracked the item and recorded it delivered to Dartmouth, N.S. Joseph lives in the Halifax community of Bedford and does not know what Canada Post did with his passport. (Finbin Joseph)

"I started to panic because it was my passport," Joseph said. "If it was any other document it's not that important. A passport is the main identity of any person. To lose it in a foreign country? It's the nightmare of any immigrant."

The tracking information said the passport had been delivered in Dartmouth, N.S., even though Joseph lives in the community of Bedford.

He walked about his neighbourhood knocking on doors and asking if anyone had seen it. "Everyone wished me well, but no one had my passport."

He hopes his passport turns up soon. If not, he'll have to cancel it, get Canada Post to write a letter saying it lost it, get a copy of his passport notarized, and apply to the Indian government for a new passport. That will cost him around $600. 

And he'd need to send it to Ottawa again for that visa. "But I won't send it through Canada Post again. I'll send it through Purolator, FedEx, or any other shipping. I don't trust Canada Post anymore."

Joseph stands with his father, mother and grandmother. He was supposed to see them all in January, but can't make the trip without his passport. (Fibin Joseph)

It will take about six weeks to get his new passport and up to two weeks to get the visa in it. That means the much-delayed trip home will have to be delayed again, or cancelled. He'd likely lose the $2,000 he spent on the ticket. 

Joseph works as a line cook at Swiss Chalet. He had to take time off work to deal with his missing passport. 

"I don't make much money. I make less than $2,000 a month. And my ticket alone cost $2,000 — $2,058 to be exact. And with all the extra expenses of the new passport, it's not been an easy two weeks for me."

Canada Post declined CBC's request for an interview. A spokesperson did send a statement. 

"Our teams searched exhaustively to locate the envelope, and our customer service and local operations kept in contact with the customer. Unfortunately, we cannot confirm the envelope's whereabouts at this time," Nicole Lecompte said. 



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