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Canadian government braces for surge in passport renewals ahead of U.S. border reopening


Pierce Schoel thought he might be able to avoid a long wait at the passport office in Kitchener, Ont., by going in the middle of the day.

He was surprised to discover line-ups out the door. The security guard told people they’d likely be waiting two, even three hours. But with a long-awaited trip to Mexico on the horizon — his first overseas trip since the pandemic began — he stuck it out.

“I’ve been waiting to travel for quite a long time,” Schoel said after applying for his passport Friday. “I’m ready to get back out there and start traveling.”

He’s not the only one. Schoel and his fellow travellers in line may be part of the deluge of passport applications Canadian officials are braced for.

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The Canadian government still recommends against non-essential travel outside of the country because of the risk of contracting COVID-19 abroad and bringing it home.

But with the U.S. border set to reopen to vaccinated travellers on Nov. 8, the federal government is preparing for a rise in demand for passport services.

“As travel restrictions are lifted, Service Canada is preparing for an increase in demand for passport services,” read a statement from Employment and Social Development Canada.

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