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CANADA: PS churn blamed on service failures – PS News

798world4A former senior Public Servant who proposed the creation of Service Canada in the 1990s has slammed political disinterest and job-hopping bureaucrats for a failure to deliver efficient front-line services.

Ralph Heintzman said senior officials rarely had deep experience and knowledge of the Departments, operations and services for which they were responsible.

“They haven’t worked their way up in that Department and are flying blind to a significant degree,” Mr Heintzman (pictured) said.

“This constant churn of executives moving in and out of jobs has created a Public Service with little learning experience, no constancy of purpose or corporate memory.”

This came on top of operational problems including old technology systems that never get replaced, poorly trained and disengaged employees, lack of planning and little accountability for poor service.

Passport and immigration backlogs with long line-ups of frustrated and fuming Canadians at Service Canada offices across the country in recent weeks has prompted the Government to create a new Ministerial task force to find ways to improve service.

The 10-member task force is expected to make recommendations outlining short and longer-term solutions that would reduce wait times, clear backlogs and improve the overall quality of services provided.

Mr Heintzman said many of the problems with service delivery were the same as in 1998 when he first presented Treasury Board Ministers with a plan for Service Canada, a single Agency to focus on delivery and citizen satisfaction.

When the plan was rolled out in 2005, it was billed as the single biggest operational reform in Federal history.

“The whole idea of Service Canada was to help increase the standard of service and citizens’ satisfaction with Government service,” Mr Heintzman said.

“So, when I see those photos of people lined up around Service Canada offices, there’s a pang in my heart,” he said.

“What’s different now is trust in Government is falling like a stone and a wave of populism is exploiting those backlogs to drive the message that Government isn’t working.”

Ottawa, 1 July 2022