Experiencing a death of a loved one is a difficult experience on its own, and having to go through the rigorous process of notifying government of the death only adds to the challenges and frustrations that arise when dealing with loss. CARP is in full support of a federal bill that would simplify the process of reporting the death of a loved one to a single department that would then notify other agencies on their behalf, by doing so people would no longer need to separately report to over 30 different agencies.
On April 1st, 2015, Chair of CARP’s Ottawa Chapter, Janet Gray represented CARP on the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology expressing support for adoption of Bill C-247, an Act to establish the Department of Employment and Social Development, more specifically Service Canada, as the main point of contact with the Government of Canada in respect of the death of a Canadian citizen or resident. The bill aims to simplify the process by establishing Department of Employment and Social Development as the main point of contact, in assisting with termination of government documents and services that pertain to the deceased person’s social insurance number.
“For the past seven years, I’ve been the chairperson of the Ottawa chapter of CARP. As the daughter of two aging parents and as a professional financial planner, I’ve personally helped my own family and clients with estate settlement and/or with advice on the process to follow on death notification. As the chair of over 6,000 local CARP members here in Ottawa, I also get asked by members how to simplify their government transactions, especially at a time when their emotions are high and the task is daunting.” – Janet Gray, Chapter Chair of CARP Ottawa
Canadians are obligated to notify to notify the government upon the death of a loved one. A bereaved Canadian must notify multiple government departments, potentially over 30 different departments in some cases, and often requiring multiple forms of documentation for proof of death. This can involve having to submit the same information to different departments and can often be very confusing, tedious and painful for a grieving individual. Bill C-247 will improve federal government service and will reduce the burden on Canadians during a difficult life transition.
Some of the departments and programs include: CPP, OAS, GIS, social insurance number, Passport Canada, GST/HST payments, veterans disability program, death benefit, Elections Canada, citizenship card, earning loss benefit, Canada child tax benefit, and working income tax benefit, just to name a few. The consequences of not notifying any of these could potentially lead loss of owed benefits, to requests for repayments, or other government penalties years later.
CARP welcomes Bill C-247 in creating a single point of contact for Canadians. The bill will streamline the currently uncoordinated fragmented system. It will remove unnecessary stress and burden of having to send notifications to multiple government departments. Instead, the bill would create a clear path for Canadians during a difficult time. This will enable the government to provide quality services to its citizens, which includes simplifying the death notification process.
Canadians do not accept that the government does not have the ability to share information across their own departments, they only see one government. CARP members support Bill C-247 as it will remove unnecessary costs for Canadians, as well as cost inefficiencies for government. Bill C-247 is a low-hanging fruit that all parties can support as it benefits all Canadians. CARP is asking that this bill be enacted right away.
April 7, 2015