Social service providers lagging behind when it comes to making services digitally accessible: report

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Published June 1, 2021 at 4:15 pm

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Despite the fact many Canadians have taken on additional caregiving duties since the onset of the pandemic, many are unaware of what social services they are eligible for. Due in large part to a lack of accessibility from providers.

A recent report from Accenture found that 92 per cent of Canadians said their social service agencies lacked sufficient guidance on what social services they are eligible to access—which poses a challenge for the 50 per cent of Canadians who have taken on more significant caregiving responsibilities at home over the last year-and-a-half.

Additionally, according to executives surveyed, while 62 per cent said they have seen a spike in demand from citizens for digital services during the pandemic, 59 per cent reported that their agency has struggled to implement digital solutions and automate business processes in response to the crisis.

Further, according to the research, many agencies have postponed investments in new technologies over the last year, despite the fact it’s considered by executives as vital to improving agency responsiveness and service accessibility for citizens.

Moreover, based on the response to the current crisis, 82 per cent of executives expect their organization’s strategy and operations to look significantly different in the years ahead, and recognize the need to introduce new services and delivery models, accelerate technology investments.

“Accessing social services shouldn’t be stressful for Canadians and it doesn’t have to be. Like the private sector, government services can be personalized when designed in collaboration for citizens and a modern workforce,” Joel Marchildon, managing director in Accenture’s Canadian Federal Public Service practice, said in a news release.

“To deliver better outcomes for Canadians and their governments alike, all stakeholders and ecosystem partners need to cooperate to reenvisage how social benefits are accessed and how the latest state-of-the-art technology can be used to efficiently deliver new offerings and services to those that need them most,” he continued.

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