Improving services for Canadians
Canadians have told us they want improvements to the services we deliver. We’re listening.
Here are some examples of how we are taking action.
On this page
- October 2018
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- January 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.
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.
Record of Employment on the Web (ROE Web): A faster way to issue Records of Employment
Canadian employers must issue a Record of Employment (ROE) anytime employees receiving insurable income experience what is known as an “interruption of earnings.” This generally happens when they haven’t worked, or expect that they won’t work, for seven consecutive calendar days.*
The ROE is one of the most important documents needed when applying for Employment Insurance (EI).
Each year, more than 1 million Canadian employers fill out more than 9 million ROE forms for their employees—time that cuts into profits.
If you’re a small or medium-sized employer, we’ve made things quicker and easier with ROE Web.
ESDC is committed to working with stakeholders to find better ways to get the information needed to run the EI program and, ultimately, make the process easier on employers and clients.
Watch this video to find out how we have made the process more efficient, reliable and convenient than ever before.
*The “seven-day rule” applies when employees quit their jobs or are laid off, or when their employment is terminated. But an interruption of earnings can also occur when an employee's salary falls below 60% of regular weekly earnings because of things like illness, injury, pregnancy or caring for family members who are gravely ill.
Automatic enrolment starting for Guaranteed Income Supplement
To make ends meet, many seniors count on a monthly, non-taxable benefit known as the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)—available to low income, Old Age Security (OAS) pension recipients.
But there’s a challenge: some of our country’s most vulnerable seniors either don’t know this benefit exists or how to apply for it.
How we are making improvements
Now, when a senior enrolls for OAS, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) will look at their household income (from their tax filing) and automatically enroll them for GIS if they are eligible.
This feature builds on the success of the Old Age Security auto enrollment initiative.
Up to 17,000 low-income seniors will be automatically enrolled for the GIS benefit each month.
This is just one of the ways we’re making services and benefits easier to access for some of Canada’s most vulnerable.
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