All in-person Service Canada centres are closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Thursday, Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children, and Social Development confirmed the closures but emphasized that Canadians will still be able to access their benefits online.
As Service Canada is the way for Canadians to access their social insurance number, EI, passports and pensions, the services will still remain open but over the phone instead.
The Citizen Service Officers will also be providing personalized service support for EI and pensions applications, in addition to the services provided over the phone by the call centres.
We want to be sure Canadians have access to the benefits Service Canada offers and relies on. After reviewing our operations, we will be closing “in person” Service Canada offices, so that we can redeploy our focus to online and telephone services to better serve Canadians. (1/3)
— Ahmed Hussen (@HonAhmedHussen) March 27, 2020
“This will allow more Canadians to get the support they need, while better protecting both them and our staff,” Hussen said in a statement.
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As Canada increases its measures to combat the pandemic by enforcing physical distancing rules, Hussen said it was important that the service delivery follow the advice of health officials.
“During a time when we are asking most Canadians to stay home, we need to make sure our service delivery model follows the best public health advice, while also meeting the needs of Canadians,” he said.
The Minister also noted that Service Canada Community Outreach and Liaison Service staff are contacting communities to offer alternate service delivery methods that will continue to support access to critical programs, services, and benefits.