(Ottawa) A Quebecer finds himself without a passport a few weeks before a trip to the United States due to the strike of federal civil servants. Benoit Giguère filed his request on Monday, two days before the start of the walkout. Today, he fears having to cancel everything.

“Somehow they took my passport hostage,” he said in an interview.

His document was due to expire in July, but he wanted to get a new one, believing that the United States requires a valid passport for at least six months after the end of their trip. However, Canadians are exempt from this rule.

Mr. Giguère had requested the express service for fear of not being able to obtain it in time if the strike were called, but he was refused since his departure is only scheduled for May 18. His new passport was due for delivery on May 1, but he doesn’t know if he will be able to get it now.

Employment and Social Development Minister Karina Gould said Wednesday that “the majority of Canadians” will not be able to apply for or renew a passport because issuing them is not considered an essential service under the law, except “in emergency or humanitarian situations”.

She put the number of requests that would accumulate for each week of the interruption at 85,000.

The strike raises the specter of a new passport crisis a few months before the summer holidays.