With passport renewal backlogs growing throughout Canada, Kelowna residents are feeling the effects.
The Kelowna passport office currently provides both ‘standard’ and ‘express’ services, though, without the ability to print passports in-house, there is no ‘urgent’ pickup service or next-day.
Kelowna-Lake Country MP Tracy Gray is calling for an expansion.
“I’ve heard repeatedly from residents that having to drive eight hours roundtrip to the closest ‘urgent pick-up’ passport location in Surrey is completely unreasonable, especially in the winter when the highways connecting the Okanagan to the Lower Mainland face large sections of ice, elevation changes, and consistent closures,” said Gray. “I have written to the Hon. Karina Gould twice since May asking for her to implement urgent passport pick-up in Kelowna, and have yet to receive a response from the minister.
“The Liberal government owes the residents of Kelowna—Lake Country an answer.”
Other Canadian municipalities of similar sizes with urgent pickup services include Chicoutimi, Richmond, Windsor and St. Catherines.
Gray said that expanding the Kelowna passport service geographically makes sense.
“The last two years have shown us how easily services between the B.C. Interior and the Lower Mainland can be cut off due to extreme weather.”
Kelowna Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dan Rogers chimed in that the chamber is “extremely concerned” about the lack of urgent service.