Up to $50/h to wait in line in front of the passport office

The passport crisis is pushing Quebecers, exasperated by the interminable delays, to pay $20 to $50 an hour for someone to line up for them in front of the Service Canada passport office.

Up to $50/h to wait in line in front of the passport office

The passport crisis is pushing Quebecers, exasperated by the interminable delays, to pay $20 to $50 an hour for someone to line up for them in front of the Service Canada passport office.

• Read also: Forced to take time off work to hang out at the passport office

• Read also: Hours of waiting for a passport

“Most of the time, it is the assistants of wealthy businessmen who contact me. I'm told they don't have time to wait in line all day. I do it for them because it's easy money, "explains Bryan Buraga, smiling.

The Journal met the 23-year-old young man yesterday at the Guy-Favreau complex in Montreal. This is where he usually lines up for those who refuse to hang around for hours to get or renew their passports.

It is the “unprecedented volume of requests to process” and the lack of manpower in the midst of a pandemic that have created these colossal delays for several months, according to Service Canada.

Occasion in gold

Mr. Buraga charges $21.17/h on the TaskRabbit platform for his services, which he started offering last May. Thus, he gets up at dawn to line up for hours in front of the Service Canada offices.

When he is about to enter inside the passport office, Bryan Buraga texts his client to take his place. He thus gives him his position in the queue, and that's it.

"It is very simple. For me, it's a win-win formula," he admits.

Dozens of announcements

The Journal has also found dozens of ads across the country for this kind of job. They were displayed on Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji and TaskRabbit.

Most of these service providers charge $20/hr to $50/hr to wait in line at the passport office in Ottawa, Toronto, Quebec and Montreal. The most motivated are ready to line up at 4 a.m. for their customers.

“I am a single mother. I have to take care of my daughter, so I can't go there all the time. But I can tell you it's a mess and people are discouraged. Every day, I receive requests,” says Sam, a Montrealer who refuses to reveal her last name because she does not know if the scheme is legal.

Contacted on this subject, Service Canada did not answer our questions yesterday.

Note that, despite the endless lines during the week, Service Canada offices, including its media relations department, are closed on weekends.

– With Pascal Dugas-Bourdon

AVERAGE WAITING TIME FOR EACH PASSPORT OFFICE:

Source: Service Canada

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