The New Democrat MP in Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing says she’s growing increasingly concerned about passport delays for northerners.
Carol Hughes says northerners have had to shell out extra money to drive to Toronto, Ottawa or Thunder Bay.
“We have had people who’ve had to cancel their flights out of Sudbury to drive down to Toronto to pick up their passports and fly out of Toronto instead,” she said. “If it’s a couple of weeks that they’re going to be traveling then I would still contact my office and chances are we are able to have that passport mailed to them.”
She adds if you are having passport delays and your trip is approaching, then contact her office immediately.
“If they are planning on traveling in the next three months then I would tell them to make sure you put your passport in right away and check your passport to see if it needs to be renewed,” she said. “But right now they’re saying it’s a nine-week processing time but I think it’s probably longer than that.”
Hughes says those in northern and rural communities are unable to reach service Canada agents by phone and have no recourse but to contact their local MPs so they can have their passports fast-tracked.
The NDP has asked the Federal Government to set up a Safe Border Reopening Task Force but Hughes says that hasn’t happened and passport and airport delays are constant problems travelers have had to deal with.
**With files from Denis Puska