Service Canada begins the gradual and safe reopening of in-person locations across the country
July 7, 2020 Gatineau, Quebec Employment and Social Development Canada
The Government of Canada is committed to supporting Canadians at every stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, and recognizes that Service Canada Centres offer one of the many important ways Canadians can access critical supports. Throughout the pandemic, the Government has taken concrete steps to ensure Canadians can continue to access the services and benefits they are entitled to in a way that respects public health guidelines and keeps Canadians safe.
As more parts of our economy begin to reopen, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, announced the gradual and safe reopening of up to 90 Service Canada Centres across the country. Decisions about reopening are being guided by public health advice, and with the priority that as many Canadians as possible should be able to access an open Service Canada office.
The reopening of in-person Service Canada Centres will build on the new services recently put in place to meet the needs of Canadians during the pandemic, such as the eServiceCanada portal. This portal allows Canadians requiring assistance from Service Canada to submit an online request and receive a callback from a Service Canada officer within two business days.
Canadians should continue to use online services whenever possible, including the eServiceCanada portal. Canadians who do require in-person services should check the Find a Service Canada Office webpage to see if their local office is open. If so, they are encouraged to make a request for an appointment through eServiceCanada, which also allows Canadians requiring in-person services to submit a request for an appointment.
To protect the health and safety of Canadians and Service Canada employees, extensive work has taken place to ensure these Centres open in the safest way possible. Canadians entering offices will be required to respect physical distancing and will be strongly encouraged to use face masks and hand sanitizer. Each Service Canada Centre will operate according to province and municipal health and safety guidelines. As a result, face masks will be offered at Service Canada Centres where they are required under these guidelines.
Additionally, to continue making online services more accessible, and given that Social Insurance Numbers (SIN) are essential for accessing government services and benefits, Canadians can now apply for one through the secure SIN online portal. The portal allows Canadians to submit a SIN application entirely online within a secure and protected environment.
For the latest and most up-to-date information, and to learn more about available services, visit Service Canada.
“As we reopen in-person Service Canada Centres, safely serving Canadians will remain our top priority. The return of in‑person public access to Service Canada offices will build on the new services that were implemented and will continue to provide convenient support to those clients who need assistance in accessing our benefits and services.”
- The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
Service Canada Centres receive over 8 million visits per year.
New safety measures put in place in Service Canada offices include: signage to manage physical distancing, limited seating in waiting areas, clear barriers at service counters, and enhanced disinfecting of offices.
In-person services available include processing applications for Social Insurance Numbers, Employment Insurance benefits, Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security benefits, and passports for essential travel.
Passport and biometrics services will not be available during the first phase of the reopening of Service Canada Centres. For urgent passport services in Canada, clients can visit Canada.ca/passport for the latest updates. For information on biometrics collection services, clients can visit Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Biometrics for the latest updates.
The new eServiceCanada portal provides convenient support for Canadians who need assistance to access benefits and services from their home.
Since the launch of eServiceCanada in March, there have been over 600,000 eService requests, representing roughly 45% of daily in-person traffic prior to COVID-19.
A new toll-free Service Canada Outreach Support Centre was launched in April to support vulnerable communities with Internet access issues or who face other barriers to service, and are normally served through the Community Outreach and Liaison Services.
Office of the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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