In a process it said “will build on the new services recently put in place,” Service Canada announced today it is reopening its in-person locations across the country.
“As we reopen in-person Service Canada Centres, safely serving Canadians will remain our top priority,” said Canada’s Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen. “The return of in‑person public access to Service Canada offices will build on the new services that were implemented and will continue to provide convenient support to those clients who need assistance in accessing our benefits and services.”
Even with the reopening, officials are advising that Canadians “should continue to use online services whenever possible.”
Those who do require in-person services should check the Service Canada website to see if their local office is open. If it is, they are encouraged to make a request for an appointment through eServiceCanada, which also allows Canadians requiring in-person services to submit a request for an appointment.
Service Canada said that to protect the health and safety of its employees, and those requiring service, “extensive work has taken place to ensure these centres open in the safest way possible.”
Some of these measures include signage to manage physical distancing, limited seating in waiting areas, clear barriers at service counters, and enhanced disinfecting of offices.
People entering the offices will also be required to respect physical distancing and “strongly” encouraged to use face masks and hand sanitizer. Each Service Canada Centre will operate according to province and municipal health and safety guidelines. As a result, face masks will be offered at Service Canada Centres where they are required under these guidelines.
Additionally, to continue making online services more accessible, and given that Social Insurance Numbers (SIN) are essential for accessing government services and benefits, Canadians can now apply for one through the secure SIN online portal. The portal allows Canadians to submit a SIN application entirely online within a secure and protected environment.
In-person services available include processing applications for Social Insurance Numbers, Employment Insurance benefits, Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security benefits, and passports for essential travel.
Passport and biometrics services will not be available during the first phase of the reopening of Service Canada Centres. For urgent passport services in Canada, clients can visit Canada.ca/passport for the latest updates.