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.

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

Howard Done and his wife were walking through the Yennadon neighbourhood of Maple Ridge, when they encountered this young buck relaxing in the grass on a vacant lot at the corner of 232nd Street and 128th Avenue. "He didn't seem to be bothered by any of the traffic, pedestrians or dogs," Done noted. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Young buck caught lounging in Yennadon

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

The employees of Maple Ridge Hyundai pose around their coat donation box. (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge Hyundai dealership holds coat drive

Business aim to collect 100 coats for local Salvation Army in second year of charity initiative

Mary Robson, executive director of the Friends In Need Food Bank, is renting two additional facilities because of the COVID-19 provincial guidelines. (The News/files)
New COVID guidelines creates storage issues for Maple Ridge food bank

Must store non-perishables for two days before being able to hand it out to clients

There have been COVID-19 exposure events at three more schools. (Pixabay)
COVID-19 exposure events at three more schools

Maple Ridge schools exposed to the virus

Students at Meadowridge did fundraising over Halloween to fill shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. (Special to The News)
Meadowridge students give gifts for children abroad

Maple Ridge school filled more than 60 boxes for Operation Christmas Child

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

Most Read