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Impact of PSAC Strike on Canadian Immigration Visa Applications and Passport Renewals

A Lady holding a PSAC Strike flag in front of the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa

As the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) strike enters its sixth day, over 150,000 public service employees demand better pay, remote work options, and enhanced job security. This large-scale labour strike raises concerns about its impact on visa applications, passport renewals, and other services managed by PSAC members.

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser has acknowledged the potential severity of the strike's effect on these processes, noting that it may be challenging to predict exact delays or timelines for applicants. The government's website provides information on which services are partially or completely disrupted.

Passport Services

Passport services are facing significant challenges due to the strike. During this period, Service Canada will only handle passport applications related to emergency and humanitarian situations. This includes cases involving financial hardship, employment-related travel, medical reasons, family emergencies, and urgent compassionate grounds. The website cautions applicants to expect delays in processing, even for prioritized applications. However, passport services for Canadians residing abroad are deemed essential and will continue during the strike, albeit with potential delays.

Canadian Citizenship

Citizenship events will be rescheduled, with urgent applications possibly being processed. Communication with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada through social media, IRCC web forms, and Client Support Centres will experience delays. Immigration appointments within Canada may be rescheduled, while those outside the country will proceed unless applicants receive notification for rescheduling.

The ongoing strike exacerbates the existing immigration processing backlog caused by the pandemic. The Canadian government plans to increase immigration to 500,000 newcomers annually by 2025, with 465,000 expected in 2023. Economic immigrants are targeted to fill around one million vacant jobs in Canada.

Temporary Resident Applications

Individuals currently in Canada on study or work permits or visitor visas applying for extensions may face delays in processing their applications during service disruptions. Nevertheless, visa and other immigration applications can still be submitted online, although uncertainty remains about the processing timeline.

Canada Border Services

Border services remain unaffected by the strike, so those with valid visas or not requiring one can still enter Canada without issues. However, the strike will impact applications for work permits, study permits, permanent residency, citizenship, or passports.

Next Phase

Despite the challenges, it is still possible for Canada to achieve its 465,000 newcomer target for 2023, as the Treasury Board has approved funding for hiring and training new staff. PSAC workers continue to strike, with 250 picket lines set up across the nation.


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