Book 2: Programs and service overview - Service Canada

Official title: ESDC Programs and service delivery overview - Service Canada

On this page

  1. In-Person Service Network
  2. Passports Service Delivery
  3. Social Insurance Number Program
  4. Canada.ca
  5. Secure Digital Services
  6. 1-800 O Canada and Customized Information Services
  7. Service Transformation
  8. Benefits Delivery Services
  9. Social Security Tribunal

1. In-Person Service Network

Description

Service Canada’s in-person network is the only visible Government of Canada presence coast to coast that provides government services to Canadians and clients, including support for accessing government benefits and programs.

In 2018 to 2019, the Service Canada in-person network served 8.4 million individuals through the in-person channel, which currently comprises:

The network provides information, application intake and personalized support for clients with complex program needs and barriers to access. It also provides information on how to digitally self-serve using kiosks available in all SCCs. The network is responsible for client authentication, identification and assistance with application intake for Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, as well as Passports and Social Insurance Numbers.

Service Canada strives to deliver accurate and consistent service, resolve issues at the first point of contact and ensure that services are accessible to all. About 97% of the Canadian population currently has access to an in-person service location within 50 km of where they live, and 85% of clients receive service within 25 minutes at SCCs.

In-person services are provided by Service Canada on behalf of other government departments (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Veterans Affairs Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency) through authorities under the Department of Employment and Social Development Act. The in-person network also has strong relationships with community groups to better serve Canadians who may not otherwise seek the benefits and services to which they are entitled.

Policy lead: In-Person Operations and Strategies Directorate, Citizen Service Branch

Services delivered by: Service Canada Regions (Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, Western-Territories)

List of key stakeholders

2. Passport Service Delivery

Description

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) delivers the Passport Program in Canada on behalf of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), which is ultimately responsible for issuing passports and other travel documents to eligible Canadian citizens, refugees and other protected persons accepted by Canada.

This mandate includes the management of ESDC’s two passport call centres and two passport processing centres, and the intake and processing of regular passport applications submitted in person (at its 31 Service Canada Centre – Passport Services sites and in 316 Service Canada Centres) and by mail, including those from the United States. On March 31, 2018, there were 23.8 million valid Canadian travel documents in circulation, 95% of which (22.6 million) were issued by Service Canada. In 2018 to 2019, Service Canada issued 2.9 million passports.

IRCC is responsible for Passport Program policies for issuing, revoking, withholding and the recovery and use of Canadian passports (including policy framework and development, functional guidance, finances, integrity and IT platforms). IRCC also manages the Passport Program’s Revolving Fund (allows for the accumulation and carry-over of surplus revenues to offset future shortfalls) that provides flexibility to meet passport volume fluctuations. Authority to deliver the Passport Program is formally delegated to ESDC.

The cost of the Passport Program is fully funded by service fees paid by passport applicants, with no funding from the Fiscal Framework. ESDC recovers its costs from IRCC.

The Passport Program is governed by the following legislation, regulations and orders/directives:

Policy lead: IRCC; ESDC collaborates with IRCC on the modernization of passport services.

Service delivered by:

List of key stakeholders

3. Social Insurance Number Program

Description

The Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a nine-digit number used since 1964 as a client or account number that is required for every person working in insurable or pensionable employment in Canada. It is used to deliver over $120 billion in benefits and collect over $300 billion in taxes each year and plays a vital role in the sound management of 34 government programs and services. The SIN is also collected in the private sector by employers for income tax and benefit purposes, and by financial institutions for accounts and investments that pay income (for example, interest and dividends).

The SIN program balances service to Canadians with a high level of integrity and security. There are robust SIN application and identity validation processes that require most SIN applications to be made in person at Service Canada Centres or through provincial birth registration (by mail in exceptional circumstances). Applicants are required to provide their original proof of identity that is validated, in real time, with the issuing source—provincial statistical agencies for a birth certificate for those born in Canada or Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for documents of those not born in Canada. All personal information provided in support of applications for a SIN is housed in the Social Insurance Register, which is used by Service Canada programs and electronic applications such as My Service Canada Account to validate identities.

The SIN is the responsibility of the Canada Employment Insurance Commission as legislated by the Department of Employment and Social Development Act and the Social Insurance Number Regulations. The Commission has delegated the responsibility for issuing and administering SINs to the Integrity Services Branch within Employment and Social Development Canada/Service Canada.

The SIN Program has three principal lines of business:

Federal-provincial-territorial context

The provinces and territories are the Government of Canada’s authoritative source of identity information for those born in Canada. The Vital Event Linkages (VEL) initiative between Service Canada and the provinces provides for the secure exchange of client information, reduces duplication of effort and improves the integrity of benefits delivery. The accuracy of birth certificates are confirmed with provinces in real time, and SINs for newborns are issued under this initiative. VEL also receives death information on behalf of programs connected to the Social Insurance Register.

Through the VEL, parents of newborns in each province (not currently in territories) can apply for their child’s SIN through the Newborn Registration Service by completing the SIN application portion of the birth registration (SIN@Birth).

Key program statistics

The Program administers close to 1.7 million SIN transactions each year, including new SINs and changes of records. Services are delivered through the following channels:

Policy lead: Integrity Services Branch

Service delivered by: Integrity Services Branch

List of key stakeholders

There are 34 departments and programs across the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec that are authorized to use the SIN, such as the Canada Revenue Agency, Statistics Canada, the Department of Justice, the Canada Border Services Agency, Employment Insurance/Canada Pension Plan/Old Age Security, the Canada Student Loan Program and Retraite Québec.

SIN holders, employers, financial institutions and creditors are important stakeholders that use the SIN to report earnings/interests and access government programs.

Identity validation partners: Provinces (for applicants born in Canada) and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (for those born abroad or in Canada).

Public environment

Following recent data breaches, the SIN program is working with ESDC programs to continue to improve their current authentication practices. The Program is also undertaking a review of its communication products to raise awareness on the SIN use and protection against identity theft/fraud.

4. Canada.ca

Description

Canada.ca is the primary Government of Canada website, providing Canadians with information on the Government’s programs and services. In collaboration with other departments and agencies, Canada.ca supports major government campaigns (Income Tax, Food Guide, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada campaigns, Seniors, Youth, Cannabis legalization and more). Of note, Canada Day content promoted by Canadian Heritage received over 1 million page views on Canada.ca during the week leading up to and including July 1, 2019. Canada.ca has been 100% uninterrupted and available to the public since its launch in 2015.

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), with Service Canada acting as Principal Publisher, is responsible for the operational management of Canada.ca and the social media account management tool. As Principal Publisher, Service Canada offers web and related services to more than 80 federal institutions, including the management of over 3,300 social media accounts.

Canada.ca makes it easier for Canadians and visitors to find and use the government information and services they need by providing uninterrupted web service that is more secure, faster and mobile-friendly. Canada.ca is built on a standardized web platform with industry-leading technology. It incorporates analytics that provide a comprehensive and comparable view of web activities for government institutions using Canada.ca. Service Canada continues to optimize Canada.ca, in collaboration with the Treasury Board Secretariat, through public feedback (for example, online surveys) and engaging public- and private-sector experts with hackathons and weekly code sprints.

Key program statistics

As of June 2019:

Policy lead: Citizen Service Branch

Service delivered by: Citizen Service Branch

List of key stakeholders

5. Secure Digital Services

Description

Secure Digital Services provide easy, fast and convenient access to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) information and services via the Government of Canada website (Canada.ca), including secure portal access for individuals, businesses and organizations to transact with ESDC.

The program delivers:

Key program statistics

Policy lead: Citizen Service Branch

Service delivered by: Citizen Service Branch

List of key stakeholders

6. 1 800 O-Canada and Customized Information Services

Description

1 800 O-Canada and Customized Information Services provide services to Canadians under the Government of Canada Telephone General Enquiries Services Program.

1 800 O-Canada provides a single point of contact for Canadians to access quick, up-to-date government information over the phone. It acts as the first point of contact for general information on all Government of Canada programs, services, initiatives and events, including public consultation and citizen engagement activities. In addition to supporting key government priorities, 1 800 O-Canada provides an important communication service in crisis situations under the Government Emergency Response Plan. More than 1.57 million general enquiries a year are answered by the 1 800 O-Canada service from its Ottawa-based call centre.

1 800 O-Canada provides high accessibility that include:

Customized Information Services provide approximately 40 general information services to Canadians, including phone and email services, on behalf of other government departments. This includes serving ongoing communication needs, targeted campaigns and temporary needs in crisis situations. Canadians who require specialized or client-specific information are connected or directed to appropriate online resources, specialized call centres or in-person service locations. More than 600,000 client interactions are handled through these services each year.

CIS program costs are recovered from the government departments that use Employment and Social Development Canada/Service Canada services to Canadians, as per agreed interdepartmental service agreements. The cost recovery authorities for the Program were consolidated through revisions to the Department of Employment and Social Development Act in 2018.

Policy lead: Citizen Service Branch

Service delivered by: Citizen Service Branch

List of key stakeholders

7. Service Transformation

Description

As the window to Government of Canada services for many Canadians, Employment and Social Development Canada plays an important role in the advancement of government-wide service initiatives to improve service results and offer a seamless service experience.

The ESDC Service Strategy, launched in October 2016, responds to client expectations for modernized service delivery. It provides the vision, principles and goals for service transformation. The Service Transformation Plan, developed in 2017, acts as the roadmap for implementing the ESDC Service Strategy. Co-developed with Canadians and employees across the country, this plan is an incremental, flexible and targeted approach to deliver real solutions of high value to Canadians.

The solutions are leading the Department towards a future state that is defined by these dimensions of client service:

The Service Transformation Plan is delivering tangible results for clients who can now:

Medium- and longer-term initiatives of the Service Transformation Plan are being implemented through Service Improvement Strategies (for example, Call Centres, CPP and OAS) and the Benefits Delivery Modernization Program. The ESDC Service Strategy and Service Transformation Plan will evolve with available funding, client needs and technological advancement.

Policy lead: Transformation and Integrated Service Management Branch

Service delivered by: Benefit Delivery Services

List of key stakeholders

8. Benefits Delivery Services

Description

Benefits Delivery Services provides national leadership on the delivery of benefits of the Employment Insurance, Canada Pension Plan (including Canada Pension Plan Disability) and Old Age Security programs, along with their call centres. Through this work, Benefits Delivery Services supports millions of benefit payments and interactions with Canadians, ensuring they have timely access to the information they need and receive the benefits to which they are entitled.

The Employment Insurance (EI) program helps clients navigate a job loss or other life events and provides economic security to millions of Canadians when they need it most. In 2018 to 2019, we processed 2.8 million EI claims (both initial applications and renewals) and issued approximately $16.7 billion in EI benefits.

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) provides economic support to CPP contributors and their families with partial replacement of earnings in the case of retirement, disability or death. In 2018 to 2019, we processed 740,000 CPP and CPP Disability applications (both initial applications and renewals) and updated 5.7 million CPP and CPP Disability client accounts. Overall, we issued approximately $46.6 billion in CPP benefits to around 6 million Canadians.

The Old Age Security (OAS) pension provides economic support to seniors, including additional support for low-income individuals. In 2018 to 2019, we processed 950,000 OAS applications (both initial applications and renewals), updated 4.3 million OAS client accounts and issued approximately $53.4 billion in OAS benefits to around 6.3 million Canadians.

The Specialized Call Centres network is committed to providing complete, accurate and professional service delivery to Canadians. The network provides detailed client-specific information and support to EI, CPP, CPP Disability and OAS clients, as well employers through the Employer Contact Centre. In 2018 to 2019, we answered 20.6 million calls to EI Specialized Call Centres (including 4.6 million calls answered by an agent); 5.5 million calls to CPP and OAS Specialized Call Centres (including 2.4 million calls answered by an agent); and 590,000 calls to the Employer Contact Centre (including 410,000 calls answered by an agent).

Recognizing that Canadians want better and faster services, Service Canada is taking targeted actions to improve the way services are delivered to individuals who access our statutory programs. Key examples of this transformation work include:

Policy lead: SEB/ISSD

Service delivered by: Benefits Delivery Services

List of key stakeholders

9. Social Security Tribunal

Description

The Social Security Tribunal (SST) is an independent administrative tribunal created in April 2013 to review appeals of decisions made for the Employment Insurance (EI), Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS) programs. The SST is led by a Governor in Council appointed Chairperson who provides overall strategic vision and direction.

The SST operates with two levels of appeals:

In 2017, ESDC reviewed the SST to assess its efficiency, fairness and transparency. In January 2018, ESDC publicly released the report with a commitment to make meaningful changes to the recourse process to make it more client-centric, faster and simpler, including a commitment to engage stakeholders in the renewal of the overall recourse process.

ESDC has initiated work that will help to transform the appeal process to be simpler and more efficient, for example by re-engineering current business processes, which will identify opportunities for eliminating or reducing duplication and low-value steps throughout the recourse process.

In keeping with the commitment to engage stakeholders in the renewal of the overall recourse process, ESDC developed an engagement strategy to ensure that the views of stakeholders are heard and considered as options are being explored and implemented.

Budget 2019 proposed to invest $253.8 million over five years, starting in 2019 to 2020, with $56.7 million per year ongoing, to make the recourse process for EI, CPP and OAS easier to navigate and more responsive to the needs of Canadians. This investment will fund a series of proposed changes that build on the recommendations of a 2017 independent review of the SST, and on the views expressed by Canadians through subsequent consultations, and will ensure that decision timelines are shortened at every stage of the process.

Policy lead: Skills and Employment Branch/Income Security and Social Development Branch

Service delivered by: Benefit Delivery Services

List of key stakeholders

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