Massive lines for SIN cards and passports in the Greater Toronto Area
Herman Singh has been in Canada for three days—two of them were spent waiting outside a Service Canada office to get a Social Insurance Number.
“Yesterday I came here at 11 o'clock and the security told me to leave because I would have no chance to get [to] my turn here, so today I came at 5 o'clock,” the international student told CTV News Toronto as he stood outside the Service Canada location in Brampton, ON.
His story is not unique. Hundreds of people lined up in a queue hundreds of feet long, snaking around the building into the back alley and behind an adjacent restaurant.
By midday, many were told to go home and try again another day.
Daniel Mendy was one of the lucky few closer to the front of the line told to return later in the afternoon. He arrived from the Gambia last Thursday to study health care administration at Fanshawe College.
He says he has been staying in Brampton close to the service center before leaving for London, hoping to have a SIN card to make getting an apartment, bank account, and job that much easier.
“Today I have to wake up very early I’ve been here since 6 am in the morning,” he said. “I waited for hours, and later on I was told I had to wait until later in the afternoon around 4:30 [pm] before I have to come back again.”
Delays at Service Canada for passports have been ongoing for months, and something Employment and Social Development Canada—which oversees Service Canada—has deemed “unacceptable.”
“Service Canada expects the passport backlog to drop significantly by the end of the summer Employment and Social Development Canada advised in a public update on August 17.
The lines outside Service Canada offices like Brampton aren’t dissipating—as the fall semester looms, many international students are arriving in Canada.
Service Canada advises on social media and on plastic notices outside service centers that people may seek official documents online, instead of in person.
Mendy wasn’t taking any chances. Even after being told his name had been taken down and to return in the afternoon—he stayed, seeking shade around the parking lot.
“Having to wait through the day, it’s not easy,” he admitted.
His resolve, he says, comes from why he came to Canada.
The 30-year-old nurse is looking to learn how to improve the health care system in his homeland.
“Studying in Canada in one of the best education in the world which has that, I believe I will definitely be able to contribute hugely in my country,” he said.
“That is my inspiration.”
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