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Passport help

Daniel T'seleie
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (May 27/05) - The inclusion of Yellowknife in a federal government pilot project will make it slightly easier for Yellowknifers to apply for a passport.

The Human Resources and Skills Development Canada office at 5020-48th Street recently became a Receiving Agent for Passport Canada.

The office will look over passport applications for errors but, "will not issue your passport right there," said Passport Canada spokesman Dan Kingsbury.

Passport Canada receives no funding from Ottawa and is self-financed, with all its revenue coming from fees for issuing passports.

As a result, "we don't just open up a Passport Canada office everywhere and anywhere," Kingsbury said.

"Basically there's not enough population in the North," to warrant a Passport Canada office, he said.

The office will help patrons with the application paperwork, but it must still be mailed to a Passport Canada office for approval.

Access to Services

Some are skeptical the Receiving Agent will be of much use to Northerners who live outside Yellowknife.

Sahtu MLA Norman Yakeleya said having an agent in Yellowknife is still inconvenient for many.

"If (travelling to Yellowknife) doesn't fit your business meetings then you have to make a special trip," Yakeleya said.