Nelly Kamagou is hoping she can get her and her children’s passports before their flight to Cameroon tonight.
It was looking grim, but now she finally has an appointment, after waiting in line outside the passport office at Montreal’s Guy-Favreau complex since Monday.
“I’m feeling better,” she said. “I have hope now. I am already inside so … I am very happy.”
Kamagou was one of the hundreds of people who were waiting in line Wednesday morning, the queue snaking around the block, as would-be travellers scrambled to renew their passports.
The federal government put into effect a new system Wednesday in Montreal after Karina Gould, minister of families, children and social development, said the delays at the Guy-Favreau office were the worst in the country.
One by one, those waiting Wednesday morning began to receive tickets with a fixed appointment time, so they could leave and come back with minimal delays.
It felt like the light at the end of the tunnel for some, who have been sleeping outside for days at a time.
But by 9:15 a.m., Service Canada workers said the passport office had reached its capacity for the day and would not schedule more appointments, forcing those waiting in line to return tomorrow.
“I want a bed,” lamented Maxime Renaud-Blondeau, who has also been waiting outside since Monday.
He’s already missed one flight. His plane to Atlanta was supposed to take off Wednesday morning. He said if he doesn’t get his passport today, he’s giving up on his trip entirely.
“I’m just going to say: I’m not going, Mom, I’m not coming,” he said.
Prior to the new system being put in place, those waiting had taken matters into their own hands, implementing their own first-come-first-serve system to keep people from cutting in line. Police were finally called in to take over crowd control.
Police were called again Wednesday, after tensions flared at the news that there were no more appointments.