The Government of Canada launches consultation to improve Employment Insurance services

By on May 13, 2016

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OTTAWA, Ontario – 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,” said 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,” said the Honorable MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour.