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.

Here are some examples of how we are taking action.

2017

November

Bringing programs and services to remote communities through mobile outreach

The challenge

Remote communities face unique challenges when it comes to accessing and, sometimes, fully understanding Government services and benefits.

Obstacles include language barriers, limited Internet availability, a lack of access to computers and geographic isolation.

How we are helping

Because inclusivity is a priority for us, our staff sometimes travel to remote communities to make sure Canadians everywhere are getting the support they need.

We recently sent a small team to Nain, the northernmost permanent settlement in Labrador, where the languages spoken are English and Inuktitut.

Melinda Oliver-Morazé, a Citizen Services Specialist, and Karen Gregory, acting Team Leader, along with two representatives from the Canada Revenue Agency, travelled to the remote Inuit community to hold outreach sessions.

Once there, they were able to help people with their applications for SINs, and answer questions about the Canada Child Benefit, Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security and other services.

“Despite the long journey, it was incredibly rewarding knowing that we are making it easier for the Inuit people of Labrador to access our programs and services,” said Melinda. “It’s a good feeling.”

When in-person visits aren’t possible, clients can go to Nain’s community centre and talk to a Service Canada Centre representative over teleconference, with the help of a translator next to them.

Since January 2015, Service Canada’s Atlantic Region has partnered with the Nunatsiavut Government to offer this virtual outreach to the people of Nain. Providing service delivery in remote communities requires extra planning but the rewards make it worthwhile. Thanks to scheduled and mobile outreach, both in-person and virtual, we are serving Canadians far and wide.

October

Improving EI processes through cooperation with stakeholders

In September 2017, Employment and Social Development Canada, with the support of the both the Commissioners for employers and workers, brought together employers, labour-sector representatives and payroll professionals to talk about how we can make the EI process better for everyone — including clients and employers.

The challenge

The process we have now can sometimes be challenging for employers. For example, a small business might not have staff who are dedicated to payroll paperwork, which makes it harder to meet our requirements. Also, sometimes, employer pay cycles do not match the weekly format that is required for EI claims so employers need to re-calculate the data, which is time-consuming and can lead to errors. In addition, the follow-up mail and phone calls with employers creates processing and payment delays for those making claims and builds frustration for businesses.

How we are making improvements

Together, with stakeholders, we are finding ways to make it easier to get the payroll and employment information that we need to run the EI program, while making it easier for employers and clients submitting a claim.

Jean-Marc Usher, a business counsellor for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, says, "It's a good way to share ideas and understand each other's perspectives. It's about finding a solution that helps everyone, not just one stakeholder."

Piloting ways to meet high demand for Social Insurance Numbers

The challenge

Every year thousands of international students arrive in Montreal to study. A flood of these new temporary residents apply for social insurance numbers so they can work in Canada and/or receive benefits and services from government programs. As a result, there is a spike in traffic and wait times at the downtown Montreal Service Canada center.

How we are making improvements

This year, we at Service Canada in Montreal, did something different: to improve service delivery and shorten wait times, we partnered with three major universities on a new pilot project by sending our staff to issue SINs to international students directly on campus.

Citizen Services staff spent 29 days at UQAM, McGill and Concordia and issued 1,566 social insurance numbers.

The international students who took part in the on-site pilot project were very satisfied with the ease, convenience and accessibility of the new service.

This service delivery win proves that teamwork, creativity, and a passion for helping others really pays off.

Beyond the paperwork: Serving Canadians during the 2017 British Columbia Wildfires

The challenge

Summer 2017 was the worst wildfire season on record for British Columbia. When the province went into a state of emergency, more than 50,000 residents were forced to leave their homes.

How we helped

Service Canada has a plan to help Canadians in times of emergency, when important documents needed for financial aid can be lost or destroyed.

Citizen Services staff jumped into action, setting up mobile work stations at wildfire evacuation and resilience centres and outreach sites. Our staff processed EI applications, helped confirm social insurance information and answered questions about additional support. Over 3,700 of the province’s affected residents were helped by our on-site teams.

Nathalie Thomas, Service Canada Team Leader in Kelowna, says: “My experience responding to the wildfires was humbling and eye opening. We always try to make a difference, and I felt like I succeeded. I am grateful to work with such a strong and dedicated team from all over the Region. It makes me proud to be a public servant and reminds me why I do what I do.”

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