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North Bay family’s Dominican trip in limbo due to passport delay

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A North Bay family is taking issue with statements from the federal government that the passport backlog has been “virtually eliminated.”

Becky Menchenton said her family’s trip to the Dominican Republic next month is in limbo because they have not received her husband’s passport.

Husband Dwayne applied for a new passport in mid-August and was told it would arrive Nov. 17.

As of Jan. 26, she said no new passport has arrived.

“That day came and went. We called and the answer we got it was that it was still in processing,” Menchenton said.

With the Dominican trip coming up at the end of February, worry is starting to set in.

“It’s very frustrating for anyone who says they have to go away,” she said.

Menchenton tried going to Nipissing-Timiskaming MP Anthony Rota’s office but said she was told the same thing by his staff.

CTV News reached out to Rota for a response, but we were told he was not available.

However, later in the day, Nickel Belt MP Marc G. Serré released this statement that said, in part:

“My northern Ontario caucus colleagues and I have worked closely with Minister Gould to address the passport-issuing backlog in our region. This included having the Sudbury Service Canada location designated as a 10-day passport processing office without proof of travel required.

“We encourage constituents who have not yet received their passport to reach out to the Passport Program or their MP office for assistance.

Frustrated, Menchenton was told she had the option to provide proof of travel at which point the passport application would be pulled from its cue and sent to a Service Canada office for processing, completion and pickup.

Becky Menchenton said her family’s trip to the Dominican Republic next month is in limbo because they have not received her husband’s passport.

“Which would mean we would have to go to Brampton or Toronto and pick it up,” she said.

“My husband would have to take a day off work and go four hours each way.”

The expedited passport could also be sent through the mail. Her trip is in limbo while waiting for more information on where and when the passport will arrive.

On Tuesday, the federal government said about 98 per cent of the backlog of applications have been processed.

“In the past year, we have moved heaven and earth to make sure that this system is working for Canadians,” Federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Karina Gould told reporters.

Gould said the backlog was cleared as a result of increasing "processing capacity" and "streamlined operations" by nearly doubling its workforce and racking up thousands of hours of overtime.

As Canada's COVID-19 travel restrictions eased, the country saw a travel surge and an influx in demand for new passports.

As a result, months-long passport processing delays led to cancelled plans and travel headaches for some, while others found themselves camping out in long lineups at Service Canada offices last summer.

If the passport doesn’t arrive in time, Menchenton said she will be forced to go on the trip alone. 

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