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.

August

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

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

Guests:
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

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

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

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

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

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 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.

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

January

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.

YouTube video: ROE Web: A faster way to issue Records of Employment

*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.

Please read the Employment Insurance Service Quality Review Report: Making Citizens Central.

Automatic enrolment starting for Guaranteed Income Supplement

The challenge

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.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: