Man says spots in line at Mississauga passport office being sold for $80

By Michael Talbot and Momin Qureshi

Spots near the front of the line at a Mississauga passport office were being sold for $80 a pop on Friday, according to a man who was snarled in the bureaucratic backlog.

Jefferey Mah says he witnessed a group of young people selling their spots in the line, while he and others who had been waiting for hours fumed about the queue-jumping at the Services Canada Centre office on Burhhamthorpe Road East.

“Oh there’s a lot of anger,” he said. “Especially when I even asked some people at the front of the line, they were super frustrated.”

Mah said he saw at least four people selling their spots on Friday morning. They even had a sales pitch — telling people if there are more than 100 people in front of them in line, they won’t get served.

Peel police say they are aware of it, but it’s not clear if anything illegal has taken place.

RELATED: How far in advance should you apply for a passport? Should you camp out in line?

The easing of COVID restriction combined with a pent-up desire to travel led to a perfect storm that’s created unprecedented demand for passports among Canadians.

The problem became so widespread and frustrating that the federal government created a special task force to deal with the issue.

“We will continue to do everything we can to improve the delivery of these services in an efficient and timely manner, and this new task force will help guide the work of the government to better meet the changing needs of Canadians and continue to provide them with the high-quality services they need and deserve,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said late last month.

The federal government also began posting estimated wait times for visits to Service Canada passport offices, with updates three times a day.

Despite those efforts, many have had to alter their travel plans because of application delays.

With files from The Canadian Press

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