OTTAWA, May 12, 2016 /CNW/ - Millions of Canadians rely on the Government of Canada to provide them with easy access to the services and benefits to which they are entitled. They expect quality and fast service from their government—whether the service is provided online, over the phone or in person. According to Service Canada data, too many Canadians are not receiving the level of service they expect. When someone loses a job through no fault of their own or experiences a major life event, they should not have to wait weeks, even months, to receive support and benefits from a program that they paid premiums for as workers. The Government must make it easier for them to access these services and programs.
Through Budget 2016, the Government of Canada committed to improve services for Canadians. To support this commitment, the Government is taking action by launching the Employment Insurance Service Quality Review, a nationwide consultation process with key stakeholders and the public to seek their input on ways to improve services to Employment Insurance (EI) claimants.
Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, and Rodger Cuzner, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, in collaboration with Rémi Massé, Member of Parliament for Avignon–La Mitis–Matane–Matapédia, were asked by Ministers Duclos and Mihychuk to lead the review.
The review will examine how Service Canada administers the EI program so that resources are focused on providing the best possible service to Canadians. This exercise will be based on feedback from stakeholders and Canadians, performance measurement and evidence.
- In 2014–15, Service Canada received 2.8 million EI applications and issued $15.7 billion dollars in payments to claimants.
- In 2015-2016, 10.3 million calls to the Employment Insurance (EI) call centre were unable to reach an agent and over a million calls were abandoned, meaning the caller hangs up while waiting.
- Individuals who disagree with a decision related to their EI claim have the right to request reconsideration within 30 days from the date the decision was communicated. The Department aims to have 70 percent of decisions finalized within 30 days from receipt of the request. To date, this target has not been met. In 2015–16, the average time for completion was 38 days, with 56 percent of requests being completed within 30 days.
"It is clear that Canadians are facing too many challenges accessing our services. This can cause stress and frustration for those who are often already experiencing a period of difficulty and financial hardship. That is why we are launching this consultation process with key stakeholders and the public to seek their input on ways we can improve services."
– The Honorable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
"Budget 2016 proposes to invest $92 million to improve the administration of the EI program. We want taxpayers' money to be invested wisely and used as effectively as possible. The feedback we receive will go a long way in informing the Government on the best path forward to meet the service needs of Canadians."
– The Honorable MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour
Employment Insurance Service Quality Review
The Government of Canada is taking action to improve the delivery of its services by launching a nationwide consultation process with key stakeholders and the public to seek their input on ways we can improve services to Employment Insurance (EI) claimants through in-person centres, call centres and online, and focusing on three key areas:
- streamlining applications
- reducing wait times for service delivery
- reducing administrative burden for employers
The Government committed funding, as part of Budget 2016, to enhancing services and performance standards for those accessing EI benefits:
- $19 million of funding was committed this year to make EI service delivery more responsive. This funding will go towards enabling Service Canada to meet the increased demand for EI claims processing, and offer better support to Canadians as they search for new employment. This additional capacity will ensure that Canadians get timely access to the benefits to which they are entitled.
- $73 million in funding was committed over two years to enhance access to EI call centres. This will increase the number of call centre agents, which will reduce waiting times and ensure that Canadians can access the information and support they need.
The EI Service Quality Review includes a nationwide consultation process that will provide stakeholders and the public the opportunity to share views and ideas on EI service delivery—feedback which will be used to inform the Government in finding the best path forward to meet the delivery services needs of Canadians. The review will assess the administrative challenges faced by Service Canada employees and recommend how these can be addressed so that EI claimants receive timely access to the benefits to which they are entitled.
Consultations with stakeholders will be taking place through regional and national meetings from May to June 2016.
Anyone interested in participating in the online survey and town hall meetings should visit the Employment Insurance Service Quality Review consultation page.
This consultation will be open from May to August 2016. A summary report of feedback received through these consultations will be released in fall 2016.
SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada
For further information: Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559, [email protected]