(OTTAWA) Canadians can now check the status of a passport application online provided they have provided an email address, the federal government announced Tuesday.

The information was widely requested, Social Development Minister Karina Gould said at a press conference in Ottawa.

In fact, of the 15.6 million calls received at the passport hotline between April and February, no less than 70% were related to the status of an application.

“This means that Canadians will have faster access to front-line employees who can serve them with their passport needs,” said the Minister.

Ms Gould said when she took office she found it “hard to believe” that the government did not allow such information to be viewed online.

The dedicated application status webpage is “a first step” and the government is working to set up an online passport renewal process, which is expected to be announced “soon, in government timelines”.

The government has also ensured that the entire backlog in processing passport applications that culminated in chaos last summer was cleared by the end of January.

In order to tackle this task, Service Canada has almost doubled its number of employees, increasing it from 1,365 in March 2022 to 2,631 at the end of February, in addition to accelerating their training, it was indicated. Passport processing and production is now completed on schedule “99% of the time”.

Since October, passport applications have been processed to pre-pandemic service standards, but many people who applied before then still faced long delays.

However, Ottawa is preparing for a big increase in the passport workload this year, as the first passports valid for 10 years expire in July.

“We are ready,” assured Minister Gould, who explained that not only has the number of employees been increased, but that passport renewals are “much simpler” since the information is “already in the system. “.