Improving services for Canadians
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
- February 2019
- January 2019
- December 2018
- November 2018
- October 2018
- September 2018
- August 2018
- July 2018
- June 2018
- May 2018
- April 2018
- March 2018
- February 2018
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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)
- 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!
The new Job Bank mobile app puts your next job right at your fingertips
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Assistant Deputy Minister for Western Canada and Territories Region and Co-Champion for employee engagement on Transformation
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.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
The future of digital government – Learning from Denmark’s experience
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Canada.ca 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.
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