Service Canada workers accuse government of manipulating seniors' pension claims in a cynical shift to 'quantity over quality'

    Newer and simpler CPP and OAS applications pushed to front of the queue
    to pump up stats while seniors most in need suffer

    OTTAWA, Oct. 6 /CNW Telbec/ - The union representing federal workers who
deliver Canada Pension and Old Age Security services to Canada's seniors is
blowing the whistle on the government's attempts to pump up claims processing
at the expense of needy and deserving senior citizens.
    Jeannette Meunier-McKay, National President of the Canada Employment and
Immigration Union, is urging seniors to "ask Stephen Harper why his government
has turned pension processing upside-down: subverting its fairness, permitting
queue-jumping and replacing personal contact with impersonal assembly-line
    Instead of a claim processing system that puts the needs of seniors
first, Service Canada staff who normally deal with more complex CPP and
OAS files have been diverted to work on simple applications that can be pushed
through quickly to boost 'key performance indicator' numbers.
    "Many of these simple cases are filed months before the applicants are
actually entitled to receive their pensions," Meunier-McKay said. "Meanwhile,
pensioners with more complex and time-consuming cases - and who should already
be receiving their cheques - are left to languish in a state of confusion and
financial need. Our call-centre staff are reporting a surge in calls from
anxious seniors wondering what has become of their CPP and OAS claims.
    Meunier-McKay noted that "our members who deal one-on-one with seniors
are very loyal and protective of these highly-vulnerable Canadians. They are
heartsick at being the unwilling accomplices of a management approach that
puts statistics ahead of people. Seniors may want to take the opportunity
during the last weeks of the federal election to ask Stephen Harper why his
government doesn't share our commitment and compassion."

    The Canada Employment and Immigration Union represents more than
19,000 federal public service workers, including those who counsel clients,
process employment insurance claims and provide pension and income security
program assistance.

For further information:

For further information: Jeannette Meunier-McKay, National President,
Canada Employment and Immigration Union, (cellular) (613) 762-1781

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