Saturday, June 11, 2016

We’re from the government and we’re here to help.

Really?

passportIt’s time for the missus and me to renew our passports so off we went to get the required photos – eyeglasses off, no smiling, just look like you’re a really pissed off terrorist in waiting and the picture will be perfect. Then they take two shots so they can be sure to have an ugly one to submit with your application.

After downloading and completing all the forms (Seriously? It’s a renewal – you already have all that info!) we headed off to submit them to the  Great BureaucracyTM  (aka Government of Canada) along with a couple hundred bucks for processing of same (aka doing their jobs). There’s a Service Canada office in town so that’s where we go.

Service Canada

Logical, right?

Not so fast. As the lone woman behind the counter who seemed to have nothing to do today – a canon fired in the office wouldn’t have hit a thing except a Closed for Lunch sign hanging on the door -  explained, you must read the fine print which, she was kind enough to show me, said “Many Service Canada Centres are passport receiving agents”. Unfortunately this office was not one of the “many”, but she offered to check the forms over for completeness anyway. Beats mind-numbing boredom I guess, and it looked like she’d already done her nails.

She also offered some options.

I could go to the nearest Service Canada office that did accept passport applications but that was 60 miles away and I should expect to “wait a couple of hours before you’ll get to see someone”. If I did that it would then take 5 to 6 weeks to get the new passports.

Or I could go to the passport office itself which is about 70 miles away, only have to wait in line for an hour or so, and we’d get our passports in 10 business days.

Or I could take them to a Canada Post office which, for another $20 apiece (plus tax, of course), would send the forms along (aka doing their job) to the passport office. And your guess is as good as mine how long that would take once Canada Post’s requisite mail storage and retention period gets factored in. Which is all academic anyway as the local post office isn’t one of the designated “receivers”, and the closest one is further away than the passport office itself.

Yup, we’re here to help, unless we don’t feel like it, in which case you get to spend 3 or 4 hours and a few gallons of gas chasing down someone who cares.

11 comments:

  1. I just had to renew my passport as well. I just had photos taken at Walmart and sent it off in the mail. It came back in a couple of weeks. That seemed reasonable. Good luck in your adventure with the bureaucracy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Richard - For some reason simplifying the issuance of passports is a problem the Cdn govt is just not able to manage - unless you live next door to the passport office.

      Delete
  2. So much for efficiency. Oy vey!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dar - Exactly! As the saying goes, "It ain't rocket science folks!"

      Delete
  3. Same but different, David: Passport renewal for an Expat seems to be so much more efficient (at least that's my experience): take photos, fill out necessary forms, send the documents via registered mail to embassy, transfer money, receive back new passport within 15 days via mail. I'd say good job, Service Canada.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, and the only commute was to the local post office 5 mins walking distance ;-)

      Delete
    2. Sonja - Which only goes to show that good service can be provided when they want to.

      Delete
  4. Try getting your Canadian Passport renewed while living in Oregon. The last time we had to renew Brad's it took 3 tries because they didn't like the picture and each time they had to be overnight Fedex'd to the tune of $40 each time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trobairitz - I can only imagine. No wonder they want you to start the renewal process at least 6 months before the expiry date.

      Delete
  5. If you walk into your local MP office they will take care of it no problem and it gets there really quick with no problems. The MP heads to Ottawa at least once a week and brings paper work like passport renewals etc. (At least that is what happens in Huntsville, Ontario)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not a bad idea except our local MP is a 2-hour drive away. Heading in to the city next week to drop them off.

      Delete

Please feel free to comment, but any comments with commercial links will be deleted. You have been warned.