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Frustration grows at passport offices as Canadians begin to travel again

There was much frustration at the downtown Toronto passport office on Tuesday as people waited hours, and in some cases days, to get their passport renewed.

At 74 Victoria Street, there are two lines on opposite sides of the doors. Those with appointments, which are required, and those who want to walk-in.

"Walk-in services can only be offered to clients travelling within the next two days. Proof of travel or need is required," Passport Services told CTV News Toronto.

Nathan Degoui is flying to Paris on Thursday, and lined up for a walk-in on Monday only to be turned away.

"I am getting nervous," he told CTV News Toronto on his second day in the line. "I came yesterday at around 1 p.m. and they said 'No way you are getting in,' so I came today at 8 a.m. and still been waiting here all day and not sure I’m going to get in."

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Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said in a news release Tuesday that as COVID-19 restrictions ease “the demand for passports—both new and renewals—has started to increase and is returning to pre-pandemic levels.”

Niko Ducharme was able to get a passport on Tuesday, but said it has been a frustrating experience.

"I applied for a passport about two months ago by mail, you can’t phone in for 20 days, so I waited 20 days, phoned and when you phone you are on hold for two and half hours, there are 575 callers ahead of you," he said.

Shortly before the passport office closed for the day, Degoui was given an appointment for Wednesday, the day before his trip to France, but not before having to come to the office three days in a row.

“I’m still upset I couldn’t get it today, obviously waited quite a long time, that’s okay. Better than nothing better than not getting it. I still get to go to Paris, so that’s good.”

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada added that Canadians can now use the simplified process to renew an expired passport as long as it was issued within the last 15 years. That process is also available to residents who have had their passport lost, stolen or damaged.

"With the simplified renewal process, applicants don’t need to have a guarantor or to provide their original documents, such as proof of citizenship or photo identification," a spokesperson said. "They simply need 2 photos, 2 references, their completed form and the applicable fees. These changes make renewing a passport easier, while maintaining the highest level of program integrity." Top Stories

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