Passport Renewal Woes Abound Amid Public Service Alliance of Canada Strike

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A Canadian passport sits on a suitcase in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
A Canadian passport sits on a suitcase in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

A 10-day strike by the Public Service Alliance of Canada leaves many in limbo, from passport renewals to visa applications and citizenship oaths.

In a disquieting display of bureaucratic disarray, thousands of Canadians and aspiring citizens are trapped in uncertainty as the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) strike enters its tenth day. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insists that the government has presented “serious offers” at the bargaining table, yet the strike lingers on.

Affected individuals, such as Amaya Hernandez Villavicencio, a Mexican student, have reached out to CTV News to share their stories. Villavicencio’s student permit has been delayed for over a year due to the pandemic, thwarting her plans to commence studies in Canada. Now, the strike is exacerbating the situation, casting doubts on her ability to return to Mexico for a necessary medical procedure.

A flurry of uncertainty.

An individual identified as Arezoo, who requested anonymity, has been living in Canada for six years and was poised to take her citizenship oath next week. However, the strike now looms as a dark cloud over her plans, leaving her “with nothing but uncertainty and anxiety.” Visiting her brother in the U.S. hangs in the balance as the strike’s outcome remains uncertain.

Jonas, an Edmonton resident originally from Colombia, lamented that he and his family have been saving for years to celebrate their disabled daughter’s quinceanera in Mexico. With the young girl’s passport expired and the strike in full swing, the family now faces the grim prospect of forfeiting their hard-earned $8,000 investment.

As the strike persists, a call for fairness.

PSAC members argue that their wages have stagnated due to inflation, asserting via Twitter that federal public service workers’ wages are equivalent to those from 2007. As the strike continues to affect approximately 155,000 government workers, Canadians and immigrants hope for a fair resolution restoring normalcy to their lives.