Service Canada has opened a new service centre in Kuujjuaq, located in northern Quebec, to better serve the needs of the Inuit population in Nunavik, Quebec, according to a statement issued by the federal agency.
The centre was prompted by a service request from the Makivik Corporation, which represents the interest of the Inuit people in Nunavik, said Service Canada’s director of service strategy for Aboriginal and Inuit People, Jacques Legris.
“We work together with them to make sure that we could provide better services to their communities,” said Legris. “It’s for all the people living in Nunavik, but of course the Inuit are the most numerous of people living in Nunavik.”
The services that Nunavik residents can now access through the Service Canada Centre include information on programs and services through the canada.gc.ca Web site, apprenticeship grants, and information on Canadian force and RCMP recruitment.
“An interesting part of that office is we have a ‘hoteling’ section where other federal departments and agencies who visit Inuit territory will be able to work in that office,” said Legris. Hoteling refers to the use of office space on an as-needed basis, like a hotel room.
Legris said in addition to the office space, they will also provide computers, phone lines and meeting rooms, to ensure that other federal departments can come to Nunavik and provide their programs and services there.
“Citizens will also be assisted with using the Internet and there will be assistance with electronic transactions,” said Legris. One example, she said, is helping them learn how to complete passport applications online.
Service Canada currently has four ways of serving Canadian citizens: through the Internet, in-person, by phone, and by mail, he said.
“We’re trying to upgrade our Web services to make sure that people don’t have to travel to our office to have the services they want…we’re also continuously improving our Web site and the way in which citizens can conduct transactions with the federal government,” Legris said.
The Service Canada exec noted that while communities in northern Quebec are very remote and isolated, they have access to the Internet so they have the capability to access the information that they need.
“The added value of the office in Kuujjuaq is we have hired Inuit people to work there so that people can be served not only in French and English but also in Inuktitut,” said Legris. “So the elders that do not speak our official languages can address their requests in their native tongues, that’s an added value.”
Service Canada will be conducting studies on how it can effectively respond to the needs of the other communities in Nunavik, Legris said.
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