‘We know service delays are unacceptable’: Trudeau launches taskforce to quicken Canadian government service delivery

By on 28/06/2022 | Updated on 28/06/2022
A Canadian passport lying flat on a wooden surface
A new taskforce within the Canadian government has been assembled to cut the time citizens are being made to wait for services such as passport processing

Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau has created a new taskforce focused on quickening delivery of public service after admitting that delays in recent months in areas like the processing of passports have been “unacceptable”.

The new team will consist of a committee of cabinet ministers, whose job together will be to ensure the proper delivery of services and highlight areas for improvement through recommendations to government. It will initially focus on delays around passports and immigration applications.

Trudeau said the government “will continue to do everything we can to improve the delivery of these services in an efficient and timely manner”, and added the new taskforce “will help guide the work of the government to better meet the changing needs of Canadians and continue to provide them with the high-quality services they need and deserve”.

Read more: Pick up the pace: CIO Catherine Luelo on accelerating Canada’s digital journey

The lag in service delivery comes with the after effects of the pandemic. The prime minister’s office said Canada has returned to “a fast-moving world where more [citizens] are once again relying on government services”. The taskforce will focus on cutting down wait times, reducing backlogs, and finding ways to improve services for Canadians.

Public services to bounce back?

In 2020, Trudeau announced an investment of CAN$240m (US$170m) in online health services to boost mental health and primary care platforms during the coronavirus pandemic. He also introduced a COVID-19 Supply Council tasked with strengthening the country’s supply chain for PPE, ventilators and other items.

As the danger posed by COVID-19 has decreased over the last two years, the federal government has begun unwinding measures to ensure the safe running of public services. These include its vaccine mandate, which until recently required public servants to confirm that they had received the vaccine in order to work. Federal staff put on unpaid leave for not wishing to confirm their vaccination status have since been told they can return to work, with unions demanding reimbursement for the wages they lost due to this policy.

Co-chairing the taskforce to get Canadian public services functioning as before will be Marci Ien, minister for women and gender equality and youth, alongside Marc Miller, minister for indigenous relations.

Other members of the taskforce include:

  • Randy Boissonnault, minister of tourism and associate minister of finance
  • Mona Fortier, president of the treasury board
  • Ahmed Hussen, minister of housing and diversity and inclusion
  • Gudie Hutchings, minister of rural economic development
  • Dominic LeBlanc, minister of intergovernmental affairs, infrastructure and communities
  • Diane Lebouthillier, minister of national revenue
  • Mary Ng, minister of international trade, export promotion, small business and economic development
  • Harjit S. Sajjan, minister of international development and minister for the pacific economic development at the Agency of Canada.

Other members of the cabinet could be brought on to taskforce meetings to give advice and recommendations on issues relevant to their portfolios.

Read more: Canada lifts COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal staff

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About Jack Aldane

Jack is a British journalist, cartoonist and podcaster. He graduated from Heythrop College London in 2009 with a BA in philosophy, before living and working in China for three years as a freelance reporter. After training in financial journalism at City University from 2013 to 2014, Jack worked at Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters before moving into editing magazines on global trade and development finance. Shortly after editing opinion writing for UnHerd, he joined the independent think tank ResPublica, where he led a media campaign to change the health and safety requirements around asbestos in UK public buildings. As host and producer of The Booking Club podcast – a conversation series featuring prominent authors and commentators at their favourite restaurants – Jack continues to engage today’s most distinguished thinkers on the biggest problems pertaining to ideology and power in the 21st century. He joined Global Government Forum as its Senior Staff Writer and Community Co-ordinator in 2021.

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