OTTAWA, Feb. 1, 2017 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada today released the Employment Insurance Service Quality Review Report, which was a review of how Service Canada delivers the Employment Insurance (EI) program. The three Panel members who led the review, Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary for Status of Women, Rodger Cuzner, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, and Rémi Massé, Member of Parliament for Avignon–La Mitis–Matane–Matapédia, presented the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development with the report on Jan 31, 2017.
Minister Duclos thanked the Panel for their work and is carefully reviewing the recommendations as well as his existing authorities. He has instructed the Department to produce an action plan for a revised strategy that reflects new initiatives and actions underway in response to the SQR recommendations.
Through Budget 2016, the Government of Canada committed to improve services for Canadians, in particular Employment Insurance. To support this commitment, the Government took action by completing this nationwide consultation process with key stakeholders and the public that gathered their views and ideas on ways to improve services to Canadians who rely on EI.
Key conclusions of the report indicate that Canadians want:
- clearer and easier communication between Canadians and Service Canada;
- better support and guidance for those who need help navigating the EI program;
- accessible call centres to support Canadians when they need it;
- improved service standards that focus on positive claimant outcomes, rather than on speed of processing; and
- a citizen-centric approach that puts the needs and preferences of Canadians at the focal point of all key decisions.
"EI plays a critical role in helping Canadians through major life events and we are committed to meeting the EI service needs of Canadians in the most efficient and effective way. I would like to thank each of the panel members for their hard work in gathering the feedback of Canadians, which will help improve the delivery of the EI program.
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
"Through the consultations, we have been impressed by the commitment and dedication that the stakeholders, Service Canada staff, and everyday Canadians have to improve the quality of EI service."
– Mr. Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary for Status of Women
"We, as the SQR Panel, have been honoured to engage Canadians and stakeholders on the EI program. This report and the recommendations it contains reflect the feedback we received from Canadians and represents a path forward for our government's continuing work to achieve results for Canadians."
– Mr. Rodger Cuzner, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour
"It is clear to us that we have to adopt a citizen-centric approach, one that places the needs of claimants at the heart of any important decision."
– Mr. Rémi Massé, Member of Parliament for Avignon–La Mitis–Matane–Matapédia
- In Budget 2016, the Government reiterated the importance of the EI program in providing economic security for Canadians who need it most. These commitments included some that specifically seek to improve the service quality of the program, including: $73 million over two years to enhance access to EI Call Centres; $19 million in 2016–17 to make EI service delivery more responsive.
- Between May and August 2016, SQR Panel members travelled across the country to host over 40 meetings with over 200 stakeholders, seeking their input on ways to improve services to EI claimants through in-person centres, call centres and online.
- In addition:
- more than 7,550 Canadians made their voices heard by completing an online questionnaire;
- over 100 written submissions were received directly from stakeholders and Canadians;
- a public opinion research survey of over 1,500 EI claimants was completed; and
- a questionnaire of Service Canada employees with over 3,200 responses was undertaken.
Employment Insurance Service Quality Review Report Making Citizens Central
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Employment Insurance Service Quality Review Panel recommendations
Based on what they heard, the Employment Insurance Service Quality Review Panel has developed 10 recommendations to help address the issues and concerns raised regarding the service quality of the EI program. The Panel recommends that:
- Service Canada adopt a citizen-centric approach to its service delivery, one that includes effective citizen feedback strategies to understand the needs and priorities of citizens for continuous service improvement, and measuring and setting targets for claimants satisfaction as a means to evaluate success;
- Service Canada review and revamp its service standards, developing a citizen-centric service standard strategy that continually monitors the relevance of the standards based on citizen priorities and expectation of service. The standards results are to be measured, tracked, benchmarked and publicly reported annually. A performance measurement strategy including key performance indicators needs to be developed and implemented to assist in delivering good citizen service and accountability;
- Service Canada identify and address access issues facing Canadians and develop service delivery strategies such as enhanced assistance for citizens who face similar access challenges to ensure their needs are addressed and positive outcomes and satisfaction achieved;
- further developing a strong service culture in Service Canada by ensuring employees and management have the proper training, tools and expertise necessary to provide service excellence, as well as developing and implementing an employee engagement plan that surveys and publicly reports annually on employee engagement to ensure Service Canada has satisfied and committed employees providing the best quality service possible to Canadians;
- Service Canada adopt a volume-based funding model for the Employment Insurance program to improve its ability to effectively accommodate fluctuations in the volume of claims received to ensure that Canadians receive the benefits that they are eligible to in a timely and consistent manner;
- Service Canada engage key stakeholders in the co-creation of a real-time payroll information-sharing solution;
- the Government provide the necessary resources and flexibility in the short-, medium- and long-term to improve Call Centre service quality while engaging the necessary private-sector call centre expertise to assist in developing a long-term, high-quality and cost-effective Call Centre improvement plan. This plan should include best practices and modern technology and factor in best value for money, enabling the kind of high-quality service citizens expect and need and that employees would like to deliver;
- Service Canada undertake a root cause analysis of the entire reconsideration process to uncover the reasons that cause a large number of initial decisions to be overturned. Furthermore, the Panel supports the HUMA recommendation to undertake a review of the Social Security Tribunal to assess its efficiency, fairness and transparency;
- Service Canada replace its outdated technology systems with modern processing technology and Call Centre telephony, doing so with prudence through a phased-in approach, which will allow the organization to use technology as an enabler to meet the needs, priorities and expectations of citizens; and
- the Department review EI program policy with the goals of identifying the barriers that prevent the implementation of improvements to service quality and simplifying the policy to improve service delivery and find economies. This review would also consider administrative burdens and barriers for service to Indigenous people.
SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada
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For further information: For media enquiries, please contact: Mathieu Filion, Director of Communications, Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., M.P., Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, 819-654-5546; Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559, firstname.lastname@example.org