Ottawa announces new task force to improve passport wait times and backlogs

The federal government has created a new cabinet task force to help tackle what the prime minister calls unacceptable delays in processing immigration applications and passports.

Many Canadians have camped out, waited for hours for passport services

People line up at a passport office in Montreal on Wednesday. The federal government has created a new task force in an attempt to speed up the process for passports and immigration applications. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

The federal government has created a special task force to help tackle the major delays with immigration applications and passport processing that have left Canadians frustrated.

In a statement announcing the new task force, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government knows the delays are unacceptable and will continue to do everything it can to improve the delivery of the services in an efficient and timely manner.

Trudeau said the new task force will help guide the government to better meet the changing needs of Canadians and continue to provide them with the high-quality services they need and deserve.

Ten cabinet members will spearhead the new committee, which will review how services are delivered, and identify gaps and areas for improvement.

The committee will be expected to make recommendations outlining short- and longer-term solutions that would reduce wait times, clear out backlogs and improve the overall quality of services provided.

In addition, the task force will monitor external issues, such as labour shortages around the world, which contribute to travel delays at home and abroad.