With more than a million EI claims filed as a result of the COVID 19 crisis the system is overwhelmed, fair enough, we get that. But the government decision to lock the doors of Service Canada Centres is not the right solution. Service Canada employees refused to work because people were jamming into the centres in violation of personal distancing rules, and there were instances of unruly behavior towards Service Canada agents. As a result the doors were locked although employees are still working inside.
The government website directs claimants and employers to the EI website and phone lines. This is not a solution. Many employers are laying off employees for the first time ever and the Service Canada website is a joke in terms of navigation. The process for completing a Record of Employment (ROE), which is necessary for the laid off employee to get benefits, is confusing to put it mildly. This is a time of national emergency and cutting off access to the only people who can assist in navigating this labyrinth will exacerbate the problem. Forget about the phone lines unless you have a masochistic desire to listen to distorted electronic music dirging away while you sit on hold for hours.
If there is an issue of crowding and unruly behavior the government should be laying on extra security or asking the police to assist. With much of the country on virtual lock-down, there should be police and security personnel available. Get those doors open and start helping people.