Improving Services for Canadians
March 28, 2023
Budget 2023 proposes new investments to ensure Canadians can count on fast and effective services from the federal government, and receive the benefits they are entitled to in a timely manner.
Protecting Passenger Rights
In Budget 2023, the federal government is proposing new steps to strengthen the Canadian Transportation Agency, make airlines more accountable, and ensure that passengers are fairly compensated. Budget 2023 proposes to amend the Canada Transportation Act to:
- Strengthen airline obligations to compensate passengers for delays and cancellations. These changes will align Canada’s air passenger rights regime with those of leading international approaches and ensure that Canadians are fairly compensated for travel delays that are within airlines’ control.
- Make the Canadian Transportation Agency’s complaint adjudication process more efficient, and provide the Minister of Transport with the authority to impose a regulatory charge on airlines to help cover the costs of resolving air passenger complaints.
Improving Airport Operations and Passenger Screening
While delays have been reduced in recent months, the federal government is acting to improve Canadians’ experiences at the airport. Budget 2023 proposes to:
- Provide $1.8 billion over five years to the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) to maintain and increase its level of service, improve screening wait times, and strengthen security measures at airports.
- Amend the Canada Transportation Act to require the sharing and reporting of data by airports and air carriers. This will help to reduce delays and improve coordination between airports, airlines, and CATSA.
- Provide $5.2 million over five years to Transport Canada to collect and analyze air sector performance data.
Faster Passport Processing and Improved Immigration Services
Last year, as the world opened up and people began to travel, too many Canadians and newcomers were forced to deal with unacceptable wait times. To address this, the federal government has adopted new technologies, streamlined processing, and made significant new investments, including $135 million in 2022-23 to address immigration application backlogs. This has resulted in:
The elimination of passport application backlogs and the return to pre-pandemic processing times of 10 days for in-person applications at specialized passport offices, and 20 days for applications received by mail or dropped off at a Service Canada Centre;
The processing of 5.2 million applications for permanent residence, temporary residence, and citizenship in 2022—double the number of applications processed in 2021; and,
The government moving more key services online, including the confirmation of permanent residence status and the introduction of online citizenship testing and ceremonies, as well as addressing backlogs of paper-based applications through digitization.
Faster Services for Veterans
Those who served Canada with our flag on their shoulder deserve to receive benefits and services in a timely manner. After significant staff reductions were made at Veterans Affairs Canada between 2009 and 2014, these cuts and the rise in applications after 2015 led to unacceptable wait times for too many veterans. While the government has reduced backlogs by more than 60 per cent since 2020 by hiring 350 staff and speeding up processing, there is still more work to do.
- Budget 2023 proposes to provide $156.7 million over five years, and $14.4 million ongoing, to Veterans Affairs Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Veterans Review and Appeal Board to reduce backlogs and support service delivery across several programs and services.
Improving Canada.ca and 1 800 O-Canada
All Canadians should have quick and easy access to information on government programs and services—whether they are a senior who prefers to call, a person with a disability who requires a more accessible website, or someone who prefers to look for information on their phone.
- Budget 2023 proposes to provide $17.7 million over four years to increase capacity at 1 800 O-Canada call centres, improve Canada.ca, and ensure that Canadians can access information they need about government benefits and services.
Old Age Security IT Modernization
The federal government delivers more than $60 billion in Old Age Security benefits to more than seven million seniors each year. To ensure the timely and reliable delivery of these benefits, the Old Age Security IT system must be updated.
- Budget 2023 proposes to provide $123.9 million over seven years to Employment and Social Development Canada to complete Old Age Security IT modernization.
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