Quebec travelers still have to cancel their trip, at great cost, contrary to what the federal minister in charge of passport administration, Carina Gould, claims, who has once again issued contradictory advice.
Petya Mativa was scheduled to leave Canada on Wednesday at 7 pm to see his family in Bulgaria after more than 3 years. Camping since Tuesday morning in a long line from the Guy Favreau compound, in Montreal, to get his son’s passport, his hope to fly away for a few hours … flew away.
“As a good citizen, we apply two months in advance, and then wait. We decided to call to see what was going on. We were told to be there 24 to 48 hours before the flight. But that is not what works. First come first serve” Should. “Or we were told that we should not finish our trip before getting our passport, and then demand proof of travel to get a passport. Arrange your thoughts and decide!”
You lose in this adventure which ends with losing 2 tickets and 4000 dollars. “We don’t just lose tickets. We don’t know what to do. We wait here, we ask ourselves questions, we make scenarios. I work in a factory. Our hours are fixed. My vacation will be next year. My parents probably won’t recognize me when I see them again.”
Early in the morning, faced with the realization that they would miss their flight, many decided to throw in the towel and leave the queue. This girl was lying on two corners, on Wednesday evening, the first day of the establishment of the ticket system presented as a solution to the endless administrative chaos.
“People who make an emergency trip, who leave within 48 hours, get their passport,” Family, Children and Social Development Minister Karina Gould said on Radio Canada’s morning broadcast in Montreal. “I know in most cases that a person gets their passport if they have proof of travel.”
“This is a mistake,” says Eric Poissonault, vice president of the Association of Travel Agents of Quebec. There are people who will miss their journey and others who will lose it. This will be even more true over the coming long weekends. »
The absence of your passport does not constitute a “reason for cancellation” accepted by the airlines, Eric Poissonault laments. Unless you’ve negotiated insurance or travel “credits” to defer your departure date with these companies, “that’s not their problem.”
Bitter icing on the cake, in his eyes, is still the $160 government fee for processing “rushing” passport applications. Drops: “We should keep a little awkward.”
Minister Gold appeared repeatedly in front of reporters on Wednesday. She reiterated that office delays in the Montreal area are the worst in the country, with queues reaching a thousand people each day. She promised to put together a “team of managers” to oversee waiting lists, inform travelers and prioritize departures within the next 24 to 48 hours.
She explained that the delays can be explained in particular by the fact that 85% of applications registered these days are for first passports, whether for newborns, new immigrants or citizens who have never wanted to travel even here. In the press, she criticized travelers who took her at the last minute to inquire about their document.
“As you know, it is always best to make sure that you have your passport handy [pour planifier un voyage]But I understand that these are exceptional times.” She later said that people who have to cancel the trip will not be entitled to compensation because “it is clear on the website that we recommend that you have a passport before taking a trip. »
However, as revealed duty In June, it is simply not possible to get an appointment at some passport offices in Montreal unless you have a ticket for the next day or the next, according to an unofficial rule not found on the site. The minister initially contradicted this information in the House of Representatives, before admitting to elected officials on Wednesday that “for people who travel more than 48 hours, we have another strategy.”
It also closed the door to compensating travelers who were forced to cancel their plans. “No,” she told reporters when asked if the matter should be considered.
Tickets that fly away
On Tuesday evening, the minister indicated that a “ticketing” system would be introduced to facilitate waiting management. About 80 tickets were finally distributed to the first in line on Wednesday morning. After this forward movement “we didn’t move forward at all”, he assured Should Many sick travelers.
To manage the citizens’ mass, a spontaneous organization took matters into its own hands. Good Samaritans put together an official list of people in line to ensure order is respected that when in the morning the crowd seizes the crowd to get one of these tickets. Some bring cribs, chairs, water, or food for their new friends in the queue. Power strip installed. All that is missing is a toilet, note next to enter the passport office.
Evil in patience does not stop at passports. Thunderstorms that hit Quebec last Friday disrupted flight schedules at Montreal Airport. “Since then, it has been complicated,” laments Anne Marcotte, director of public relations at Aéroports de Montréal. She advises completing your ArriveCAN application before arriving at the airport, so as not to slow down the process, and arriving at the site at least 3 hours in advance.
Let’s see in the video
“Alcohol scholar. Twitter lover. Zombieaholic. Hipster-friendly coffee fanatic.”