June 24, 2020
The Honourable Bill Blair
Minister of Public Safety
The Honourable Navdeep Bains
Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
OPEN LETTER RE: CANADIAN ANTI-FRAUD CENTRE CONTACT HOURS AND AVAILABILITY
I write to you in order to bring forward once again concerns about the operating capacity of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. I was recently contacted by a constituent who suffered the theft of all of her family’s belongings, her personal financial information and some identifying information, when her U-Haul rental van was stolen in the midst of a move earlier this year. She advised that while trying to find appropriate resources to assist her in addressing fraudulent activity that she later found on her credit report, she attempted to contact the Anti-Fraud Centre, only to find that it is not accepting any telephone calls due to the ongoing pandemic.
This is very disturbing given fraudulent telephone calls purporting to be from government sources and seeking to obtain personal information continue to circulate and to target vulnerable Canadians. I have previously raised this as a concern to the Minister of National Revenue as well as to former Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, in 2018 and again in 2019, but this activity continues undeterred.
It was bad enough when the Centre only took telephone calls from Monday to Friday, from 10 am to 4:45 pm, Eastern time, providing poor service for my constituents in the Pacific time zone. Now, with no way to be contacted at all except online with the creation of a GC Key, the Centre will be more difficult or even impossible to reach for people who are the most vulnerable and likely to be targeted by scammers: senior citizens, persons with intellectual disabilities, newcomers to Canada. This concern is particularly heightened in a pandemic.
Therefore I urge that you reinstate telephone access to the Centre; that you expand its hours of service so that it is a truly national service with service hours appropriate to all regions of the country; and also that you consider adding expanded language access, beyond Canada’s two official languages, so that the Centre may increase its capacity to accept reports of fraudulent telephone calls.
Thank you in advance for your consideration and I will look forward to your responses,
MP for Vancouver East
Cc: The Honourable Dianne Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue