The Employment Insurance (EI) Service Quality Review has released its report, which includes recommendations on improving how Service Canada delivers EI programs. The report follows consultations with PSAC/CEIU members, unions, employers and other stakeholders.
More resources needed for better service
The recommendations in the report dealing with service to Canadians are a good first step. The government has an opportunity to follow through in the upcoming federal budget by providing the necessary funding to restore and improve services, as recommended in the report.
"More funding for more staff is critical if the government is really committed to providing the level of the service Canadians deserve,” said PSAC National President Robyn Benson. “Improvements cannot be made without more human resources."
The report also recommends ‘first call’ resolution. This means anyone contacting a Service Canada Office, in person or on the phone, should be able to speak to someone who can answer their questions and fix their problems. PSAC couldn’t agree more. All front line staff at Service Canada, both in large and small offices, as well as the call centres, should have the necessary training so that they are equipped with this specialized knowledge.
The last thing we need is another Phoenix fiasco
The report talks about updating technology at the call centres. PSAC supports modernizing government services in order to better serve Canadians. However, if Phoenix has taught the Liberal government one thing, it should be that they need to listen to and involve the workers who provide the services in order to avoid a similar debacle.
PSAC, and its component the Canada Employment and Immigration Union (CEIU), are calling on the government to involve workers and the unions that represent them in an action plan to address these issues, from start to finish.
Key union recommendations during the consultation process
- Increase staffing levels in all three areas of the EI program;
- Provide better training and support for employees on the front line, in call centres and in processing.
- Focus on the quality of service, not just the quantity.