An Edmonton scout troop felt the impact of passport problems still plaguing Canadians – hours before flying.
Members of the 3rd Edmonton Scouts received their passports 18 hours before the departure of their flight to Finland.
The troop travels to Finland on a 17-day journey to gather with more than 15,000 scouts from around the world.
The group, which includes two adults and 11 teens, has been planning the trip for nearly three years and raised more than $ 40,000 to pay for it.
Seven of the teens and young adults needed new documentation and applied for passports in March.
The group’s commissioner Tara Cerhit said no one came.
“We followed all the rules and regulations. We made sure we had plenty of time. (Passports) are not processed. They do not adhere to delivery dates. We have delivery dates listed for mid -April but we don’t have anything.
This week, the group began queuing outside Canada Place to pick up their passports in an attempt to salvage the trip, after learning the documents may have been inside the building.
“The line-ups are fierce. They wait and wait and go home twice because they don’t travel in 24 hours,” Cerhit said Monday. “I was really shocked. I was nervous that these kids would miss out on an adventure they were supposed to take. The amount of effort makes the heart fat. ”
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Scout Ellis Mangum arrived at Canada Place at 4 am Monday in hopes of getting his passport.
“I waited 12 hours … and nothing,” he said.
Scout Niels Clintberg said the whole experience was “pretty silly, actually”.
A sharp increase in demand for passports prompted the federal government to put in place a triage system last week in various cities – including Edmonton. It ordered flyers within 48 hours to head to a Service Canada site.
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Cerhit said he doesn’t believe the triage system has helped his group – as he lined up again Tuesday at 1:30 am in the final effort.
“What is wrong with the system is that it does not work, it is simple and straightforward. It is not a complicated activity, to fill out these forms. There is no reason why they should wait seventeen weeks for this. ”
Seven members of the group obtained their passports before 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Despite severe delays and uncertainty for some, the federal government says most Canadians get their passports on time.
“Where we want to be is people get their passports early when they apply. That’s what we’re working on in the next four to six weeks,” said Minister Karina Gould, who is responsible for services of the passport, on Tuesday.
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