The Service Canada office in downtown Maple Ridge reopened on Wednesday. (Neil Corbett/The News)

Dalton rises in House of Commons to ask for Service Canada office opening

Office in Maple Ridge had been closed since start of pandemic, opened Wednesday

Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge MP Marc Dalton stood Question Period on Tuesday to call for the Service Canada office in Maple Ridge to be re-opened immediately.

The next day it was.

The office closed in March, and Dalton noted there are Service Canada offices open in Langley and Surrey, and other organizations such as schools, businesses and city halls have all re-opened.

“Mr. Speaker, this government constantly tries to distract Canadians from their failures and scandals by saying they’re focused on COVID and services for people. Not true in Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge.”

He said the Service Canada office has been closed for months. Dalton’s office staff in the riding has had to pick up the slack, helping people to access federal government services.

“Not everyone can access a website or stay on hold all day praying that someone picks it up,” said Dalton.

“Would the minister responsible for ignoring the needs of my constituents apologize and commit to reopening our office immediately?”

If Dalton appears testy in the video, it was by design.

“I was trying to express the exasperation people in the riding are feeling,” he said.

“Because of the shutdown, a lot more people have had to access CERB (Canada Emergency Response Benefit), EI and other programs,” said Dalton.

“If ever there was a time for Service Canada to be open, it’s during COVID-19,” he added. “A lot of people are living week to week. It’s been a tough time.”

He said government services have been overwhelmed, and he has heard reports of people waiting on the phone for as long as five hours to get assistance.

The answer from Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen was that the the government is committed to ensuring Canadians can access service Canada.

“We’ve already safely reopened more than 260 Service Canada centers right across the country. Decisions about reopening are being guided by our world-class public health officials and with a priority that as many Canadians as possible will get the benefits they deserve.”

The Service Canada office at 22325 Lougheed Highway had been closed until further notice, but on Wednesday it opened. There is priority access for clients with appointments, or those dropping off documents who do not need to speak to a Service Canada officer, but members of the public can again walk in.

Staff at the office would not discuss how long the reopening had been planned.


 


ncorbett@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

maple ridgePitt Meadows

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Flags flown at half mast out front of Fraser Regional Correctional Centre for slain corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa. (Neil Corbett/ The News)
Public vigil and flying flags at half mast done to honour slain prison guard

Maple Ridge corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa, 29, is being remembered in a number of ways

School sign at Pitt Meadows secondary, which is one of the schools in the district with a recent exposure to COVID-19. (The News files)
Five schools added to list of those with COVID-19 exposures

Surge in cases at Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows schools

Approximately $1.6 million was provided by the province to support the Foundry’s virtual services, including the development of the new Foundry app. (The News files)
New app to help youth access mental health and substance use supports

New Foundry BC app to complement services at Foundry Ridge Meadows

RCMP stock photo. (Black Press)
Throat injury call brings large Ridge Meadows RCMP response

Incident sees two men facing assault-related charges

Amazon has announced the creation of five new facilities in B.C., to employ about 2,000 people. (Amazon/Special to Black Press Media)
Amazon adds new facilities in Langley, Pitt Meadows, Delta, Vancouver

The Vancouver port centre will be the first Amazon centre to feature robotics in B.C.

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Mandeep Grewal was gunned down outside an Abbotsford bank in October 2018. Police said a violent gang war to control drug-line territory was going on at that time. Drug charges have now been announced against seven people. (FILE PHOTO: John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
7 people face 38 charges related to gang drug activity in Abbotsford and Mission

Police say investigation began in 2018 into expansion of Brothers Keepers’ drug line

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

Most Read