Frustration at the Montreal passport office as large crowd draws police presence

Montreal police were called to the downtown passport office Tuesday morning after a large crowd gathered to wait for appointments, with tensions running high.

More than 150 people were in line at the Guy Favreau Complex around noon. Some have resorted to camping overnight in the hopes of beating the rush.

Frustration is mounting for people like Ian Popple, who said he has yet to receive his daughter's passport even though he applied back in April.

His flight leaves tomorrow.

"You call passport services, no one picks up the phone. You go to the passport office, you can't see anyone without an appointment," he said.

"You try and make an appointment online and there's no appointments available for months."

Sonia Lebel, the Quebec minister responsible for Canadian relations, is appealing to Ottawa to find a solution.

"The situation experienced by many Quebecers in passport offices is deplorable. It's insane to see people camping to get a passport," she wrote on Twitter.

La situation vécue par de nombreux Québécois dans les bureaux des passeports est déplorable. C'est insensé de voir des gens camper pour obtenir un passeport.

Nous invitons le gouvernement fédéral à rapidement trouver une solution afin de traiter plus adéquatement les demandes.

— Sonia LeBel (@slebel19) June 21, 2022

Federal Families Minister Karina Gould, who is responsible for Passport Canada, said 600 additional workers have been hired to deal with Canada-wide passport delays.

She also said senior managers have been deployed to Montreal to help out.

But for Ian Popple and many others, the situation feels helpless, they said.

"Everyone's kind of left wondering, 'what are on Earth are we supposed to do?'" 

--With files from The Canadian Press