August 30, 2022
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
AN OPEN LETTER TO PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU
Dear Prime Minister:
I am writing to express my concerns with the delays and inadequate level of service provided by multiple federal departments and agencies.
Canadians deserve proper and timely access to services from the Government of Canada. Through taxes and service fees they pay for these services and should not be experiencing the ongoing frustrations caused by growing backlogs.
These departments and agencies include:
1. Passport Canada
Passport Canada has been unable to process the volume of applications for new and renewed passports from Canadians. This is causing trip cancellations, extended family separation, lost money for flights and accommodation, and additional stress imposed on Canadians looking to travel internationally for the first time in two and a half years. MP Offices have even seen their ability to help diminished as a direct result of changing rules and procedures.
2. Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA)
Canadians, especially seniors and parents, are unable receive their much-needed benefits, obtain refunds, correct errors on tax filings, or even get answers to questions through
CRA. This is causing continued economic hardship for many Canadians, especially lower income Canadians. It is taking a month for MP Offices to even get a response to an enquiry, much less a resolution to a problem.
3. Service Canada
Other services and benefits such as the pensions that Canadians have paid into for many years or the Social Insurance Numbers a young Canadian requires to get their first job are increasingly inaccessible. Canadians from coast to coast to coast are spending hours on hold or in lineups outside Service Canada locations just for the opportunity to speak with a public servant.
It regularly takes both individuals and MP Offices multiple phone calls with frequent holds and transfers across agents who often provide incomplete or inaccurate answers to questions.
4. Federal Pay Systems
Canadians expecting payment from the Government of Canada are unable to receive the money they are owed. Workers who have followed all the proper processes are still not receiving payments. Even with a MP Office assisting them, these workers are unable to even have their grievance acknowledged.
5. Statistics Canada
Canadians who have cooperated with Statistics Canada and provided all information requested by the agency are unable to see their files completed in a timely manner. Even with the support and advocacy of a MP Office, Canadians are left waiting.
6. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)
Many individuals including much-needed workers looking to come to Canada, family members looking to be united, and permanent residents hoping to become Canadian Citizens are unable to make meaningful progress with their applications. Delays and errors from IRCC are now expected in most cases. MP staff is spending upwards of four hours at a time on hold just waiting to speak to an agent. This ongoing situation does not make for a fair or compassionate immigration system, and it reflects poorly on Canada internationally.
This situation is simply unacceptable.
Despite your Government’s claims that more staff have been hired to address these problems, the backlogs are getting worse.
Creating yet another Cabinet Committee to study the issue, as you did in June, is not a real solution.
I call on you to take responsibility for these failures and take immediate action to bring every federal department and agency back to an adequate standard of service for all Canadians.
John Nater, M.P.
c. Hon. Diane Lebouthillier, P.C., M.P., Minister of National Revenue
Hon. François-Philippe Champagne, P.C., M.P., Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Hon. Karina Gould, P.C., M.P., Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
Hon. Filomena Tassi, P.C., M.P., Minister of Public Services and Procurement
Hon. Sean Fraser, P.C., M.P., Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship