Improving services for Canadians

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

Canadians have told us they want improvements to the services we deliver. We’re listening.

Below are some examples of how we are taking action.

For more information on the specific service solutions we’re implementing, please visit the Service Transformation Solutions webpage.

On this page

March 2019

Two sides of the Service Transformation coin

Kyle Reedman’s goal is to take Service Transformation beyond the acronyms, outside of the corporate-speak, and get to the heart of the ‘so what’ factor.

“Lots of staff might see information around Service Transformation and say, ‘that doesn’t mean anything to my work.’ They may work on EI or pension claims, talking to clients at call centres all day long. Their workloads are so high they figure, ‘I go to work, I do my job,’” he notes. “To get employees to see how Service Transformation has an impact on their day-to-day work is central to what we’re doing.”

Kyle works with the Benefits Delivery Service Branch (BDSB) in the Western Canada and Territories region. The branch processes applications for benefits such as Employment Insurance and CPP, as well as specialized programs like Apprenticeship grants.

As a Business Expertise Consultant, Kyle finds tools and resources for managers and leaders to engage with staff around the Service Transformation Plan (STP). He says WebEx sessions have been a particularly successful engagement tool. A regional Design Thinking WebEx that Kyle organized in July 2018, for example, had 77 attendees with 94% indicating the session improved their knowledge of design thinking.

“WebEx sessions have been great to help make STP messages relevant to staff,” he says. “For example, we recently had the Acting Executive Director of Business Expertise, Wendy McMurray, speak on how leaders can be champions as well as on changing service language to be more client-centric.”

Aside from one short posting outside of BDSB, Kyle has worked with the Branch since 2008. He says he finds it exciting to be at the centre of the shift towards a more client-centric culture.

“That client-centric outlook is really important,” he says. “I think everyone who works in Service Canada loves helping Canadians. Knowing that we’re shifting towards being even more client-centric is gratifying. Not only are we helping Canadians, we’re going to do it in a more profound way than by just upping production.”

He says that, in the past, ESDC has been more focused on statistics and increasing the number of tasks done. “Meeting those expectations is still really important. But instead of making that the whole goal, we’re shifting it to what the outcomes are of what we’re doing. We’re taking the extra time with the client to make sure they understand a particular process or application, so they don’t have to call back.”

Kyle says ultimately client and employee satisfaction are two sides of the same Service Transformation coin. “Looking at employees as clients and knowing that transformation efforts are going to make their workplace better, while moving the markers on client service for all Canadians, is exciting.”

Leader of Change: Duncan Keith

Duncan Keith has spent the last 30 years of his career trying to make workplaces somewhere you want to come to.

As Manager, Workplace Solutions, Duncan leads a team responsible for developing interior design standards for the entire department. He is particularly driven to improve accessibility for employees with disabilities.

“The definition of accessibility has traditionally been narrow and not always applied in an inclusive manner,” he says. “To my knowledge, ESDC is the only federal government department to ensure that all of its new builds will be 100% barrier-free. This is what separates us from the pack.”

As per the National Building Code of Canada, employees with mobility disabilities are accommodated with wider major hallways, roomier kitchens, bathroom stalls and work cubicles. But Duncan says that doesn’t go far enough.

“Typically we would custom design and modify your cubicle or office so it could accommodate your wheelchair. But then you want to go see your colleague, or your director. Those spaces do not accommodate your wheelchair.”

Duncan’s team “turned that upside down” about 5 years ago. “We moved from accessibility to inclusivity. In our new spaces, you can’t tell they’re designed for wheelchairs. They just work for everyone.”

And his team isn’t stopping there. Duncan notes people with mobility disabilities represent about 7% of the employee population. He says they’re now going after the “invisible disabilities”.

“We’re currently updating our Interior Design Standards to include people with vision and hearing disabilities as well as social anxiety disorders, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), all these other disabilities. It’s a lot of work, but I don’t think it’s actually that hard. You have to try, right?”

Duncan maintains that greater inclusivity in the workplace doesn’t just benefit employees, but the entire Department.

“As in any organization, your single largest cost is salary. If you have employees who, due to the workplace, aren’t as productive as they could be, that’s a drain on the organization,” he says. “You want to make your organization run as efficiently as possible.”

Leaders of change: Rosemonde Boucher

As a Process Management Specialist, Rosemonde Boucher says Service Transformation is all about listening to employees.

“They are the frontline,” she says. “They know where the problems are. They know what the clients think. As we work through Service Transformation, we have to feel the pulse of the employees, the people who touch the work every day.”

Rosemonde works with the Transformation and Integrated Services Management Branch (TISMB) examining and analyzing processes to improve services. She says that means giving employees the tools – and the voice – to make improvements to their day-to-day work.

“After receiving our Business Improvement teaching, we ask employees to go back to their business operations and apply our methodology to improve a process in their operations. They look at where the bottlenecks are, where the main difficulties are in their process and they come up with solutions I coach them through that process,” she explains.

“Rosemonde has devoted herself to ensuring that novice facilitators are well equipped, ready and comfortable to share what they have learned,” says her Director Francois Foulem. In nominating her as a Leader of Change, he says, “Rosemonde’s extraordinary contribution through coaching and teaching, as well as her good humour and patience, are critical to the service transformation process.”

“When I work with a team, or coach them, I am empowering the front line workers and showing them their opinions matter, that they can make a difference on a daily basis for Canadians,” Rosemonde says.

“I teach employees to look at the process as a whole so they know that how they do their work directly affects other parts of the process as well as affects their colleagues. It also raises their awareness about the quality of service to clients. We are civil servants; we are here to serve Canadians. Everything we do every day has an impact on them.”

Frontline workers: Jelena Jenko

Jelena Jenko says one of the benefits of being a Team Leader at the Toronto-North York Flagship Service Canada Centre is that she still gets to work the frontlines, helping clients.

“All Ontario regional team leaders are active team leaders, so if we are needed on the desk we pitch in,” she says. “It’s a really nice reminder of why we do, what we do.”

While she acknowledges serving clients can be challenging, she says it is also “instantly rewarding.”

“Sometimes you make someone’s day, you’ve explained something to them, helped them find an application form they’ve been searching for. Ultimately, this is what it’s all about.”

The Toronto-North York Service Canada Centre is the “Flagship” for future Service Canada Centres aimed at improving accessibility. The Flagship boasts cutting-edge, hi-tech features such as tactile maps and flooring to provide navigational assistance for all clients including those with visual impairment; access stations with height adjustable desks so clients can sit or stand; roving Citizen Services Officers equipped with radio headsets and tablets to proactively triage clients when there is a line-up; and software which reads material on computer screens out loud.

Despite all the modern amenities, Jelena says the most popular feature at the Toronto–North York Flagship Service Canada Centre might just be the refreshment bowls thoughtfully provided for service animals.

“Everyone loves those and comments on them. It’s all part of serving all client segments equally. That’s Service Transformation in a nutshell.”

For Jelena, working at the Flagship is also a leadership opportunity in a totally innovative office.

“That’s a big motivator for me,” she says. “I have always liked change, so I like how we are moving forward.” She also likes working in an environment where expecting the unexpected is part of the daily routine.

“It’s an attitude and a philosophy,” she says. “You have to come to work with an open mind and embrace change because in the operations environment, no matter how much you plan your day, it will never be what you planned. It’s really about the end goal which is client service excellence.”

February 2019

Leaders of Change: Justin Dong

Justin Dong says his goal is to make Service Transformation “real and tangible” for staff.

As a Communications and Marketing Consultant in the Western Canada and Territories Region, he says, “the best way to do that is to help people see how they fit into the bigger picture. Employees want to see tangible examples of what the Service Transformation Plan (STP) is. Not just what the principles are or what the thinking is. We need to find ways of sharing the successes and experiences.”

That means creating the time and space staff need to put their ideas forward, “and stay involved in the hundreds if not thousands of conversations that are going around about Service Transformation.”

He points to the Western Canada and Territories (W-T) Region’s Service Transformation highlights webpage as one way to help employees stay involved and up-to-date on STP activities and “all things Transformation.”

Acceleration Hub activities and WebEx sessions are other tools that can “help to frame some of the broader thinking about what Transformation is for employees.”

Public Affairs and Stakeholder Relations Branch Communications Manager Darrel Houlahan nominated Justin as a Leader of Change.

“Justin is fully engaged in Service Transformation and conveys that to his team every day,” Darrel says. “He is always looking at how to make it resonate with his colleagues in the W-T Region and across the country through his enthusiasm, communications skills and knowledge of the file.”

It helps that Justin thrives in a fast-paced environment of change and variety.

“What I like most about working on Transformation is that there is always something on the go that you can sink your teeth into and support,” Justin says. “I’ve worked for the department for 14 years. Service Transformation is the single biggest change that I’ve seen since Service Canada was created. It is revitalizing our approach to service excellence.”

Going where they are: Remote service delivery in Labrador

Darren Walsh (Director of Program Delivery – Atlantic Region) and Christine McDowell (Director General of Citizen Services and Program Delivery – Atlantic Region) recently travelled to Labrador to discuss service delivery and partnership opportunities with Indigenous leaders to better access Service Canada and other government programs and services.

The challenge

Providing quality services to remote Indigenous communities where internet connectivity is limited and the nearest Service Canada Centers can be hundreds of kilometers away.

How we are making improvements

Thanks to ESDC service improvements, Canadians living in remote areas are receiving more in-person service from Service Canada Citizens Services Specialists and Officers. The Department is also developing and piloting new tools and technology that will give clients in these communities better access to online services and benefits.

“The communities were very welcoming,” Darren said of the sites they visited on their five-day tour, which included the Sheshatshui Innu First Nation Community, the Mushuau Innu First Nation in Natuashish and the Inuit community of Makkovik.

Darren added that once residents found out they were with Service Canada, they expressed their appreciation for the visits he and other Service Canada employees had made to the area. One grocery store employee told them about a Citizen Services Officer who was there just a week earlier.

“She appreciated being able to gain access to the services we deliver,” he said, adding that demand for outreach services is still high. “We left with a resolve to work with these communities to ensure they have access to the services they need.”

January 2019

Federal government urged to go digital

On November 29, 2018, Alex Benay, the Government of Canada’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), and Sandy Kyriakatos, the Chief Data Officer (CDO) for Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) held a discussion in Gatineau, QC, on the Government’s digital future.

In his remarks, CIO Benay argued that the reason countries like Denmark and Estonia are recognized as having some of the most digitally-advanced and effective public services in the world wasn’t because they have bigger budgets or more advanced technology, but because they have the drive and desire to really improve service.

“Those countries had the immediate need and want to innovate. That is what has made them leaders (…) Canada doesn’t really struggle with funding issues or technology holding us back. What holds us back is a resistance to change how we work.”

ESDC CDO Sandy Kyriakatos agreed, urging public servants in attendance to “apply a critical lens” to how they currently serve the public, digitally or otherwise, and find more efficient ways to deliver services.

“Going digital is not a one-size-fits-all scenario, even though many of our processes are designed this way,” Sandy says. “At CDO, we encourage our employees to think differently - form a coalition to challenge process, create new solutions and raise the changes you’d like to see become a reality.”

“Employees are not the box in their classification or level,” Benay told the audience. “You should never feel confined by that. To adopt a more client-centric approach we need to be able to shift our departmental culture with employees leading the charge.”

Two years of service transformation

It’s hard to believe that Employment and Social Development Canada’s (ESDC)’s strategy for improving how Canadians receive federal benefits and services was implemented just over two years ago and that the Department is beginning a third year of service transformation.

Looking back at where the organisation was just two year ago, it is remarkable how far it has come on its journey to improve services for Canadians and ensure that they are at the heart of service delivery.

That transformation didn’t happen overnight. They began by completing important transformation initiatives that were already well underway in the Department thanks to the hard work of its employees. These included:

  • automatically enrolling over a million seniors for Old Age Security
  • doubling the number of Service Canada centres offering passport services
  • cutting the Employment Insurance wait period in half, from two weeks to one

ESDC employees, business experts, and Canadians also worked together like never before to identify service delivery challenges and develop new prototypes and solutions that will allow clients to access our services when, how and where they want.

This new way of working has already yielded results, including:

  • launching the Job Bank mobile application, a runaway success with over 49,000 downloads and 600 new downloads per day
  • enhancing the Benefits and Services Finder tool
  • extending the Video Chat pilot so that hundreds of clients in communities across the country have shorter wait times at Service Canada Centres
  • launching a new enhanced toolkit that will help our Client Service Officers connect people in remote communities to the benefits their due

And that’s just to name but a few.

While ESDC has come a long way in the last two years, the Department has much more to do in the months and years ahead if it wants to be a nimble, world class service provider that puts you, the client, at the centre of everything it does. For more information on service transformation and the future of service delivery, please follow us on Twitter, watch our Youtube videos, and keep checking in on Improving Services for Canadians.

December 2018

Milestone: over one million automatically enrolled in the Old Age Security program

One of the ways that Canadians have said they want us to improve service delivery is by taking the personal information they have provided to one Government department or agency and using it to automatically enrol them for benefits and services offered by other departments and agencies. We have listened to this feedback and taken action with the Old Age Security benefit.

Since April 2013, over 1 million new Old Age Security (OAS) beneficiaries have been automatically enrolled by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to receive the OAS pension at age 65.

How does automatic enrolment work

  • leverages departmental and Canada Revenue Agency data to identify eligible beneficiaries
  • ESDC takes care of the application process on behalf of eligible seniors and automatically enrolls them to receive the OAS pension
  • selected seniors receive a letter from Service Canada notifying them one month after their 64th birthday that they will receive their OAS pension one month after turning 65
  • selected seniors who have a low income will also be automatically enrolled for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)

Other improvements

  • a new integrated application with both the OAS and the GIS on the same form is now available

Seniors not automatically enrolled in the OAS

Seniors who did not receive a letter from Service Canada informing them that they were selected for automatic enrolment must apply in writing to receive the OAS pension.

ESDC continues to make improvements to modernize the way services are delivered to Canadians by streamlining and simplifying our processes and ensure services are delivered to Canadians, how, when and where they want them while ensuring the highest quality of service.

Revamped Benefits and Services Finder

Employment and Social Development Canada is working hard to provide Canadians with the services they need.

We recently upgraded one of our popular tools – the Benefits and Services Finder – in keeping with feedback that we received from end users.

How does it work

The Benefits and Service Finder asks you up to 11 questions. Based on these answers, the tool then bundles the relevant programs and services (when available) across federal/provincial/territorial governments that you are most likely to be eligible for. The resulting list of programs and services is tailored to your circumstances.

How we are making improvements

In keeping with feedback that we received from the public and other end users we have upgraded the tool to give clients:

  • faster and easier access to the tool
  • the ability to e-mail the resulting benefits and services list to themselves or others
  • a feedback option

These changes are generating results. On average, over 100 users get their results emailed to them each week with over 7,000 clicking through to read about their results in more detail.

We will continue making changes to improve client service. Stay tuned for further transformation on the horizon!

November 2018

The new Job Bank mobile app puts your next job right at your fingertips

The challenge

Canadians need access to Government resources when and where it is convenient for them. That means providing services that leverage the latest technologies that are popular with our clients.

How we are making improvements

That is why Employment and Social Development Canada has introduced the Job Bank mobile application—the Government of Canada’s next step in their goal to provide Canadians with digital services that work for them.

The app, available on the App Store and Google Play, allows users to search through tens of thousands of good Canadian jobs on their smartphones and create Job Alerts based on their search criteria, letting opportunities come to them.

It also offers:

  • easy on-the-go job searching
  • customized job searches to meet the needs of applicants across Canada
  • use of geo-location to find jobs in a specified local area
  • the ability to add jobs to a favourites list for future applications
  • a free, secure space to view jobs and
  • a new platform to promote employers’ jobs to thousands of potential employees

The Job Bank app is one of the many ways the Government of Canada is ensuring that Canadians find jobs that work for them.

For more information

To find out more about this new service solution, please watch the Job Bank Mobile App video.

Transcript: The Job Bank Mobile App

Job Bank Mobile App makes searching for jobs easy and convenient.

Search jobs close to where you live or anywhere in Canada.

Find out who is hiring in your area.

Swipe through jobs to speed up your search.

Swipe right to add to your favourites.

Job Bank finds jobs that match your qualifications.

Set alerts and create favourites to find new jobs even faster.

The app also notifies you of closing dates on your favourite selections.

Job Bank works even offline so you can view your favourite jobs anytime, anywhere.

Find us on Google Play and the App Store

Satellite-in-a-Suitcase brings connectivity to Canadians in remote communities

Citizen Services Specialist Bill Gregory works on the Community Outreach and Liaison Services (COLS) Satellite-in-a-Suitcase team. One of the many teams working on Service Transformation, they were tasked with solving how Service Canada can improve connectivity to Canadians in remote regions.

The challenge

Understanding who and where these Canadians are, why Services Canada hasn't been reaching them and the barriers preventing them from accessing the same services enjoyed by the majority of Canadians in more populated areas.

The COLS Satellite-in-a-Suitcase team agreed the solution is to equip departmental outreach staff with mobile technology to connect remotely to all of our mobile outreach applications. In other words, provide remote communities with the same access available in any Service Canada Centre (SCC).

How we are making improvements

The team designed software, created a COLS website and a hardware toolkit consisting of a laptop, a tablet for client use, a printer, a cellular hub and a satellite link. Bill took the Satellite-in-a-Suitcase to Iqaluit, Nunavut where he and a colleague successfully issued the first-ever SIN to a Canadian by satellite technology.

The COLS solution team will continue to review the (COLS) Satellite-in-a-Suitcase pilot project results while exploring how Services Canada can continue to improve service to Canadians in remote communities.

October 2018

Piloting to improve connectivity with Canadians in remote communities

A key objective of ESDC’s Service Transformation efforts is ensuring we can provide Canadians with the services they need no matter where they live.

Service Canada’s Community Outreach and Liaison Service (COLS) assists Canadians in remote communities by having its Citizen Services Specialists (CSSs) and Officers (CSOs) travel to register and enroll the public in services they are eligible for.

The challenge

A major barrier to this service delivery is access to a reliable, secure and stable internet connection - a necessity when it comes to registration for essential services like Canada Pension Plan or issuing Social Insurance numbers. Due to infrastructure challenges in remote communities, ESDC officers working in the field often struggle with unreliable internet connections.

How we are making improvements

The COLS solution team is piloting ways to better connect ESDC officers working in remote locations across Canada to the internet, including through a new hardware toolkit. Running through the fall of 2018, the pilot is being used to test and gather data on how specific hardware and connectivity tools perform in real world situations.

Throughout this pilot, the solution team is continuing to explore ways of pioneering new technologies to improve the quality of life of Canadians living in remote communities.

Transformation is underway: Be aware, Get involved – Your voice matters

As the Co-Champion for employee engagement on Service Transformation, it is my pleasure to kick off a new theme based approach to sharing the progress and perspectives related to the great work you are doing across the country. Our fall theme – Transformation is underway: Be aware, Get involved – Your voice matters – is focused on getting everyone talking about transformation.

What does it mean to be aware and get involved? For me, it means supporting you in finding ways to contribute to the conversation, participate and be confident in advancing your views. It’s about tapping into your experiences, knowledge and creative ideas and then maintaining that dialogue.

Over the next three months, you will see more stories about staff transformation experiences along with new webpages for each of the Service Transformation Plan solutions. Best of all, each of these will include opportunities to comment and ask questions about the highlighted projects.

As part of our fall activities, we will also launch a new Ask Me Anything tool that will allow you to have your say on service transformation activities and solutions.

Engagement is not a one-time discussion, but rather a way of working. As we move through the transformation projects, we need to collaborate and learn from each other. This is what will produce the best results.

I firmly believe every employee on every team has ideas that can influence our path. My challenge is to make sure each of you can find a way to use your voice. I know there is a lot going on and multiple initiatives involved in transformation, but don’t be daunted by this. There are lots of ways to speak up. For most people, the easiest way to get involved is through a manager, but here are some other ways to join in:

  • work within your team to dedicate time for transformation activities;
  • add transformation as a regular topic in team meetings;
  • submit questions and comments to our engagement team; and
  • follow our new service transformation Twitter account @STP_PTS.

You are vitally important to transformation success. I want to learn more about which employee engagement methods are working for you. Do you have any ideas on how we can build a culture of engagement or how we can better engage on this important work?

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback and look forward to your comments and all the discussions ahead of us.

Sylvie Bérubé
Assistant Deputy Minister for Western Canada and Territories Region and Co-Champion for employee engagement on Transformation

September 2018

Service excellence starts at home

Every day, improving our level of service for Canadians is a priority.

ESDC business analyst, Keith Willey, his husband Kevin and daughter Abbie experienced just that when they applied for their passports at the 885 Meadowlands Drive East office in Ottawa.

A Canadian citizen, Keith migrated from the United Kingdom in 2008. Kevin and Abbie are both Inuit and the couple adopted Abbie in 2014. Anticipating a more complicated and lengthy process, they were pleasantly surprised and impressed by the exemplary service they received. Keith found the staff not only supportive and helpful in managing Abbie’s passport process (as the agent who served them had training with regard to adoption processes in the North) but also respectful of Keith as an immigrant, Kevin as an Indigenous person and the two as a same sex married couple.

The two came away with the assurance that they would get their passports in a timely manner.

This just one example of how we are working hard to ensure we are delivering the kind of service Canadians expect every day.

Improving Services to Canadians: Service Advisory Committee

When ESDC needs fresh ideas or knowledgeable guidance on its service delivery and transformation initiatives, it looks to the Service Advisory Committee (SAC).

Established in 2015, the membership of the SAC includes accomplished professionals and experts from a cross-section of the private sector as well as academia, government and the not-for-profit sector. They also have domestic and international work experience in service-related areas.

The SAC provides informal advice to senior officials and employees from across the Department and helps them think critically about a range of service delivery and transformation issues: from guidance on the types of service standards clients expect to considerations around the use of data analytics and machine learning to inform service improvements. In discussing such issues, the members bring valuable perspectives from a range of sectors to help solve service challenges.

For more information on the Committee and its members, please visit the SAC Website.

August 2018

Collaborating to improve the impact of community outreach activities

Giving Canadians greater choice in how they receive our services, when and where they want them, is foundational to our commitment of transforming our services. This means that our employees need to be equipped with the best tools and resources available to deliver on this commitment.

The challenge

The Community Outreach and Liaison Service (COLS) delivers in-person services in rural and remote communities and to vulnerable people across the country. We need to ensure our dedicated service professionals have the latest information and tools at their fingertips so they can provide the best service experience possible when engaging clients in these circumstances.

How we are making improvements

Employees from across the country, including COLS outreach workers, are meeting virtually to collaborate, test and develop an updated and re-vamped toolkit.

The first step was to update the online toolkit our service professionals take with them while out on the job. The online toolkit contains links to all of the necessary information (forms, how-to guides, outreach materials, presentations, tracking tools, etc.) that COLS outreach workers need to consult on a regular basis in order to provide people with information and vital services. The result of our hard work so far has been a more streamlined online toolkit that is much easier to navigate and keep current as information changes.

To help us serve our clients more quickly and efficiently, we are now looking at improving the technology supports for our outreach workers to make sure they can connect to and deliver the programs and services clients are seeking when they reach out to people across the country.

New features added to My Service Canada Account

Service Canada, as part of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS) Service Improvement Strategies, is implementing new and enhanced CPP and OAS online services for seniors through the My Service Canada Account (MSCA). These new services give clients the ability to access new self-serve options, view their account information related to benefit payments, add a mobile or work phone number to their account, and give the Department their consent to deliver information on their behalf to an authorised individual.

Additionally, the MSCA now offers seniors the option to apply online for the Child Rearing Provision (CRP).The CRP can increase CPP benefits for seniors who left the workforce, or worked less hours during their careers in order to raise young children. While paper forms will still be accepted, applying online is much simpler: you only need to provide the Department with your child’s birthday and Social Insurance Number. Once you press ‘send’, the system automatically decides whether you are eligible, speeding up the approval process.

Thanks to these new online functions, older Canadians will save time applying for benefits and services.

The introduction of the new and enhanced online services aligns with the Department’s commitment to improving your service experience

July 2018

Deputy Minister Levonian and Chief Operating Officer MacLean talk Service Transformation

Watch DM Louise Levonian and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Leslie MacLean talk about ESDC’s Service Transformation Plan and how we can achieve service excellence.

Transcript: A message about Service Transformation at ESDC from DM Louise Levonian and COO Leslie MacLean

Deputy Minister Louise Levonian sitting at her boardroom table:
The service strategy for both the Government of Canada and ESDC will achieve some really great things:

Shots of participants during the Transformation exercise:
client-driven design and delivery across all channels, easy online services and seamless delivery.

Even though we have made progress in service delivery over the last 10 years, we have to do more to meet the demands and needs of Canadians.

Deputy Minister Louise Levonian sitting at her boardroom table:
In today's world the only way we're going achieve service excellence is through collaboration,

Shots of participants during the Transformation exercise:
breaking down silos, removing barriers to advancement, and engaging employees and Canadians.

We have to try new approaches and learn from our mistakes. This is exactly the approach we have taken to develop the Service Transformation Plan.

Having positive conversations and opening the lines of communication across the Department will help us anticipate the needs of Canadians and respond to them.

Deputy Minister Louise Levonian sitting at her boardroom table:
Each one of you will play a part in advancing our department.

Senior Associate Deputy Minister Leslie MacLean presenting to a group:
How do we get ahead of the curve? How do we anticipate what their needs are? How do we really think about the policy intent of what we do?

Shots of group participants listening to Senior Associate Deputy Minister Leslie MacLean:
We've had the whole range of who we are as an organization, l with some great help form outside,

Senior Associate Deputy Minister Leslie MacLean presenting to a group:
helping think our way to where we need to be in the longer term.

There was no doubt in my mind that the product of your labour would be excellent, because not only did I see the action, horizontality and integration of all your work, I also saw your rigour.

Shots of group participants listening to Senior Associate Deputy Minister Leslie MacLean:
And one of my favorite parts of the things you've been talking about: how do we make sure that our workplace really draws best ideas from all of our people.

Shots of group participants listening to Senior Associate Deputy Minister Leslie MacLean:
And I think I just want to say that I feel not scared but I feel inspired by your work, inspired to do the best that we can as an organization to say horizontal and integrated is how we want to continue work together and let's see what we can do to really make a difference for Canadians.

2018 Annual Clerk’s Report

Did you know that multiple Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) initiatives were showcased in this year’s Annual Clerk’s Report, which recognizes some of the best work done in the public service? Read the 2018 report and learn more about our recent initiatives!

Helping Canadians affected by the British Columbia Wildfires

See how Service Canada employees went above and beyond last year to help Canadians affected by the British Columbia (B.C.) Wildfires.

Transcript: ESDC Helps Canadian Affected by B.C. Wildfires

My name is Brandon Yeung. I'm a Senior Advisor with Service Canada in the Western Canada and Territories Region.

During the BC wildfire situation my role was to play as a coordinating body ensuring that all the background players were integrating their response and ensuring that service delivery was provided to citizens on the ground as well as supports to our staff.

Kamloops played our hub site and we sent staff to each of the different sites depending on the needs of the day and ensured that they had the necessary leadership supports, they had the necessary products that they needed and also the technology. When you're working through a crisis and you're working in the background, the rewarding piece of that is the work that you do—you see it through the staff that are having to go face-to-face, who are going to be on the ground and working with clients. A lot of the people that were working on it, you can see the stress that it was having on them because they actually care, and when you care about your work you can really push yourself to go a little bit further.

Being able to respond to such a large crisis event in a very short amount of time and being able to get our folks onto the ground and being able to serve citizens so quickly was really amazing.

Learn more about Service Transformation

Want to learn more about ESDC’s Service Transformation Plan? Listen to ESDC’s leaders talk about it on our podcast below.

Transcript of podcast: Service Transformation Plan

Louise Levonian: Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Development
Leslie MacLean: Senior Associate Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Development and Chief Operating Officer for Service Canada
Host: Sean Rowan, Director, Strategic Portfolio Communications, Public Affairs and Stakeholder Relations Branch

Director Sean Rowan: Well hello everyone and thank you for listening in to this podcast.

My name's Sean Rowan and I'm with the Public Affairs and Stakeholder Relations Branch here at ESDC. It's a real pleasure to be your host today.

We are indeed privileged today to have two very special guests with us in our studio, two of our leaders: Deputy Minister Louise Levonian and Chief Operating Officer for Service Canada, Leslie McLean. They have both taken time out of their very busy schedules to come and tell us a little bit more about the Service Transformation Plan.

Louise, Leslie thank you so much for coming in today.

If it's alright with you we'll jump right into the first question: we've been hearing about Service Transformation for some time now, Can you tell us a little bit about where we're at in the process. What's happening?

And Louise I'll ask you maybe to start?

DM Levonian: Yes, of course, I'd be happy to answer that. And thank you, Sean, for that lovely introduction. So, for me, it's a really exciting time for our department. A lot of Canadians depend on the work of our department and our employees. Our staff does excellent work, day in and day out, which enables us to distribute over $120 billion in benefits each year. Because of this, Canadians interact with Service Canada nearly 140 million times per year. The direct impact ESDC has on the lives of Canadians is truly major and very, very important.

So we're always, of course, trying to find new ways to keep the momentum going. The important work that we do is incredibly important, like I said, for Canadians, and for many years we have been transforming the services that we provide to Canadians. We already do great work and I'm very, very proud of that work that we do; but you know we can always do better. So Canadians expectations are kind of driving what we do, and they expect, in essence, the experience in a way that they see in the private sector, and in other countries to a certain extent; and many of these the private sector some other countries are kind of using leading-edge cutting-edge technologies and business practices to deliver services to Canadians – to their citizens.

And we've heard repeatedly from stakeholders and employees that we have engaged during, for example, the cross country engagement that we did for Employment Insurance – the Service Quality Review – that we really should be providing excellence in service to Canadians and that's what we're trying to do with this transformation.

COO Maclean: Thank you, Louise.

So the Service Transformation Plan, what's that do? Well, it brings it all together, it helps make our Service Strategy real, it helps move us closer to the big idea of better service to Canadians, but above all it helps us focus our effort on changing the way we do business as well as how we're organized to deliver services.

In order for the transformation to succeed, we need a plan—a real plan. Not just something that we develop and then store on the shelf.

Because of the plan, because of the contribution of many staff across the country…

We will be able to implement concrete solutions that can improve the everyday lives of Canadians.

And most of all, I am happy to note that the bright ideas for transformation didn't just come from one place in the country: we've had staff from across the country bring their best game to the sessions and bring their best ideas.

We won't be able to succeed without everyone's contribution.

Director Sean Rowan: Excellent, excellent…Louise and Leslie a lot of people want to know where is the push or the drive coming from to undertake this massive department-wide transformation of our services.

DM Levonian: Really, I think the answer is simple. It comes from Canadians, of course. The first step was to listen to the people we serve every day.

We need to listen to the public, to business owners, organizations, and to our employees, and I emphasize to our employees as well, on how to make our services more convenient to Canadians, to our clients – whether that be online or whether it be on the phone or in person at our service centers. So in the last year we've held consultations across the country to really better understand what Canadians and our employees want from service delivery. We know they want services that are accessible, of high quality and timely, those that are consistently excellent I would say; and anticipate their needs to a certain extent.

We also know that Canadians expect to have access to self-service functions online similar to those that are available in the private sector. We are meeting this expectation by developing a mobile app that clients can use to access our services anywhere, anytime.

COO Maclean: And we are not alone. Regarding transformation to better address and meet the expectations of Canadians, the Government of Canada also has its own service improvement strategy.

And we have seen not only a government-wide commitment to improve service to Canadians but we have seen dedicated funding provided to us in budgets 2016 and budgets 2017 and to other service departments.

These resources help us better serve Canadians and deliver the goods.

And from the public service perspective the Clerk, in his most recent report to the Prime Minister on the public service, highlighted the importance of putting clients first, of the criticality of ongoing service delivery to Canadians, including such things as, Louise, a mobile app. What's that?

And of course just making sure that we are working together to improve service to Canadians across the public service.

Director Sean Rowan: COO, Deputy Minister, can you tell our audience how this transformation initiative is any different from previous ones that have been undertaken in the organization.

DM Levonian: Absolutely I'm happy to answer that. So the feedback that we collected during the consultations and engagement activities has been incredibly valuable and has contributed to a completely new, modern and innovative approach we call an Acceleration Hub, and this is very different. This acceleration hub helps us provide solve service delivery problems that we, in this acceleration hub, define and address in a very collective environment and in a very accelerated environment. For the first session of the hub we brought together over 60 employees from across ESDC to identify and validate solutions that will bring important service improvements for ESDC employees and, at the end of the day, for Canadians.

This approach focuses on the participation of clients, employees and private-sector experts at every step of the development of solutions. From design to testing through the creation of prototypes. This new way of working and thinking based on co-creation, inclusion and horizontality really represents the future of the Government.

COO Maclean: And we know that, yes, our transformation is focused on improving service to Canadians, but we also know that, in order to make that happen, we have to work differently inside our organization and across government. So we're putting in place new organizational governance structures: that's to make sure we keep focused on the big idea of transforming our services and making sure that Canadians see something different. We've also got as part of that an integrated service management function and that is really going to help us ensure that we don't solve one problem one way, one time – solve the problem and then flow it across the organization so that as we get good ideas from wherever in the organization we can put them in place, we can scale them up and Canadians are going to see something different.

It also affects the way we work with our employees. We are determined to involve our employees in the upcoming changes. We want your best ideas, we want to listen. You also want a culture where our great ideas are welcome. Where you're valued and heard in a workplace that actively supports collaboration among everyone. And we were— it was clear to us that continuing to work in closed-off bubbles was not as efficient as getting everyone's experience and ideas. And we're thrilled with the enthusiasm and the involvement we've already seen for the transformation process so far. As Louise mentioned, the Acceleration Hub gave us an amazing boost of energy and ideas.

That transformation of service also means that it's not only the big ideas of what we're going to do and how we're going do it, it's also going to take daily attention from staff and managers all across the organization to make sure we're identifying great ideas or identifying how and where they can best apply. We pilot them small and then we roll them up and out as possible with the ones that work. So just to close on that thought obviously a real service transformation…

It will involve everyone. It will be a challenge for everyone. And we're really happy with the contributions so far, and we'll continue together.

Director Sean Rowan: So, in other words, keep those great ideas coming. All right, can you tell us a little bit more about how the Service Transformation Plan will improve how we deliver services to Canadians?

DM Levonian: Sean, that's an excellent question and I'm happy to answer it.

Over the next few years, the Department will implement a number of new service improvement initiatives that will continue to transform service delivery to Canadians. I would like to discuss a few potential solutions.

So one of the things that's being contemplated is an improved Benefits and Services Finder. So what's that? That's something that is going to make it easier for clients to find the benefits and services for which they may be eligible. We're thinking of video chat kiosks which will provide our clients with face-to-face access to services to service experts to select Service Canada Centers and we've mentioned before the mobile applications so our clients can do business with us through the mobile device, through their mobile devices, through their choice of smartphone, tablet, etc.

COO MacLean: And if I could add it's so exciting to note all the real improvements that we've made in services to Canadians over the last year. They really reflect Policy, Ops and Delivery working together at their best. So for example, we've expanded passport services to many many Service Canada Centers across the country; we've now got auto-enrollment in place for Canadians, whether it's Old Age Security benefits and the Guaranteed Income Supplement; service levels in EI call centers have just gone up amazingly; we've got a great partnership going with the Canada Revenue Agency to share direct deposit information back and forth for benefit and tax payments. We're really getting more active in letting clients communicate with us in more modern ways so, for example, letting EI claimants get email notifications when updates are made and, of course, a number of other improvements that recognize Canadians' life events so that newborns can now be registered for the social insurance number at birth which is a great collaboration with provinces and territories. Finally, we're getting a little more automated in the grants and contributions world as well by encouraging more and more proponents to apply online.

Director Sean Rowan: Excellent, excellent. So listen it's very, very nice of both of you two to join us here today. It's really important for employees to understand more about this Service Transformation Plan and service transformation writ large. Is there anything else you'd like to tell our listeners before you go?

DM Levonian: Yes, I would. In the coming months, we will organize a series of activities across the country to explain in more detail what service transformation is and what the implications are for you. I invite everyone to take part in one of these activities, ask questions that you may have and contribute to defining the future of the Department.

So please find out more about how you can contribute to the Plan by speaking to your manager or one of the service transformation ambassadors, exploring the Service Strategy website, subscribing to the Service Canada Twitter account, and you can check out the new initiatives being highlighted in Intersection and our ‘Improving Services to Canadians' webpage as well.

COO MacLean: Thank you, Louise. And for me I just say let's keep bringing our best game to work every day and wherever you are in the organization – if you're a policy wonk in the National Capital Region, if you're a frontline staff person serving Canadians, if you're a manager anywhere in the organization…

…your ideas are welcome. We really appreciate your involvement, your great ideas and your commitment to Canadians.

DM Levonian: The work that we're doing here, the work that you are doing for Canadians is incredibly important and this transformation is incredibly important so I would just say get out there and get involved, find out what's going on and talk to your managers like I said just to really contribute to this initiative which is incredibly important I think at the end of the day for Canadians.

Thank you!

Director Sean Rowan: Thank you very much for coming in today and I hope we can have many more of these podcasts in the weeks to come. Thank you very much, thanks for your time!

June 2018

The future of digital government – Learning from Denmark’s experience

What happened

Leading figures in Canadian and Danish digital policy and programming met in May 2018 in Ottawa to share experiences and ideas on the future of digital services. By talking with leading governments like Denmark about how they have shifted to more digital services, Employment and Social Development Canada is actively exploring and developing the best ways to deliver on our commitment to create a world-class service experience.

What did we learn

To make sure they stay inclusive and accessible while becoming more digitized, Denmark actively educates the public (from the youngest to the oldest) to make sure that the digital services are accessible to everyone.

How we are making improvements

Like Denmark, Canada is making sure that any new or current digital services are designed for all members of the public and made accessible before we put them into action. By clearly defining the issues and designing solutions with Canadians, we continue to make progress in creating an awesome service experience. We will keep consulting other service leaders from across the world to continue improving our services for Canadians.

May 2018

We’re making it easier to find your benefits!

You may have seen the Benefits Finder on the Government of Canada’s website before. It’s an online tool that helps Canadians find federal, provincial and territorial benefits they may be eligible for.

Answer a few simple questions about where you live, your family and your employment situation and the Benefits Finder will present you with a list of benefits and services based on the answers.

We’re improving the Benefits Finder to make it easier to use, starting with making the tool more visible online. We’ve also added a feature that allows those using the application to share results via e-mail. As well, we will be introducing a feedback feature so we can keep tailoring our services to client preferences. Over time, more benefits will be added.

The benefits that ESDC provides are making a real difference in the lives of Canadians who are using them. One of our top priorities is for you to be aware of the benefits you are entitled to and to be able to access them where and when you want to.

April 2018

Making virtual a reality: pilot program cuts wait times in Service Canada Centres

Most people anticipate lineups when they head to a Service Canada Centre (SCC). Imagine arriving and being greeted by a Citizen Service Officer (CSO) with the option to speak to someone sooner, virtually.

After a few minutes in the waiting area, there’s someone on the screen ready to help you, from another province or territory away.

After successful pilot projects in Fredericton, NB, and St. Leonard, QC, this Video Chat initiative may be a reality for you soon.

By giving you access to more people (in person and virtually), we can provide you with faster service without sacrificing quality.

This is just one of the service delivery solutions being developed as part of our Service Transformation Plan.

Those who have used it say there’s no real difference between the virtual and in-person service—and our online CSOs say they like chatting with people from across the country.

The next pilot is set for Winnipeg, MB, where we will explore and fine tune ways to improve your service experience.

March 2018

Expansion initiative makes it easier to apply for and renew your passport

We’re making it easier than ever before to apply for or renew your passport, by nearly doubling the number of Service Canada Centres across the country offering passport services.

For many Canadians, these centres have been a long car ride away. By expanding passport services to more centres, over 97 percent of Canadians now have convenient access to apply for or renew a passport within a 100 km distance of their home.

Canadians are now able to submit their applications and have their citizenship documents, like birth certificates and certificates of citizenship, validated and returned to them while they are in the office. These centres will also assist people with their standard passport application by reviewing it on site, accepting payment and forwarding it to processing.

"Canadians want better, faster and more accessible services from their government,” says The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, “By leveraging Service Canada's nationwide service delivery network, the Government of Canada is making passport services more convenient for Canadians.”

New “DAISI” initiative makes it easy to share your information between organizations

Fewer clicks—that’s how we’re changing the way you update your information with us.

We’ve heard how frustrating it can be to update your address and banking information multiple times with multiple organizations.

The Tell-Us-Once – Direct Deposit and Address Information Sharing Initiative (DAISI) is a joint effort between the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) that will allow you to update your information once and have it automatically shared with the other organization.

Last November, this initiative kicked off by giving Canadians the option to share their direct deposit banking information between the CRA and ESDC’s Canada Pension Plan program.

Now, people receiving a Canada Pension Plan Benefit will be able to update their direct deposit information once—either online, over the phone, in-person or through the mail. So far, over 56,000 Canadians have agreed to share their direct deposit information.

February 2018

Helping families in remote communities register for the Canada Child Benefit

If you live in a remote community, you might know firsthand how challenging it can be to access government benefits and services.

For the 60 residents of Fort Babine reserve in Northern British Columbia, the barriers are considerable: Service Canada offices are the next town over and internet connections are shaky at best.

The challenge

So how can the government ensure that Canadians—wherever they live—are aware of its programs and services and know how to access them?

How we are making improvements

Personnel from Service Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency recently visited Fort Babine as part of an outreach pilot project to help eligible families on reserves and in Northern communities register for the Canada Child Benefit (CCB).

Dawn Morley Zirk, a Citizen Service Specialist, hosted information sessions at the adult learning centre where she issued social insurance numbers, provided application support for the Canada Child Benefit, Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security and other government programs. She also explained how to access agent support and provided demonstrations on how to use the online programs.

The attendees were mostly youth, some of whom began knocking on doors of friends and family to encourage them to join.

This type of direct outreach demystifies government work and empowers residents with the right tools, knowledge and confidence to access services they are entitled to.

“When we contact a community to set up a visit or an information session and they say, “No visit needed, everyone’s caught up!” it’s a good feeling because it means that I have done my job,” says Dawn. “The staff and residents of some of these communities are comfortable now to call on me when they need me; it’s all about developing a strong team and partnership with respectful communication to support the people living in remote communities.”

Mobilizing during crisis: how aboriginal skills and employment programs helped fight the 2017 British Columbia wildfires

Thanks to the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS), a program that helps participants upgrade their skills and find work, destruction met its match during the 2017 BC wildfires.

When the wildfires broke out, organizations funded by ASETS in the Okanagan and Prince George took immediate action to increase participation in Fire Awareness and Fire Suppression training.

The Prince George/Nechako Aboriginal Employment and Training Association (PGNAETA) had just graduated 36 people in forest fire training. The association immediately organized classes in fire awareness and fire suppression for more than 120 participants, including people from other groups funded by ASETS. A number of those participants returned to their communities to fight and prevent fires at home.

In an emotional interview, Jennifer Campagnolo, Service Manager for the Indigenous Programs Unit in Service Canada, describes how PGNAETA went above and beyond to answer when duty called.

YouTube video: How Aboriginal skills & employment program participants fought the 2017 British Columbia wildfires

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