Delays in processing birth certificates, other documents caused by staffing cuts: NDP
Manitoba government says it's addressing backlog, with nearly all now processed
The Manitoba NDP is concerned delays in processing thousands of birth certificates and other important documents are making life more difficult for people living in the province.
Manitoba's Vital Statistics Agency issued just shy of 20,000 fewer birth certificates in during the 2020-2021 year than in previous years, the annual report says.
This year, 28,837 birth certificates were issued compared with 48,423 in the 2019-2020 year and 45,452 the year before.
The official opposition says that deficit puts a number to the cost of staffing cuts at the agency.
"The PC government has used cut staff at this agency through vacancy management, and it's made life harder and more complicated for regular families," said NDP finance critic Mark Wasyliw, calling it a "penny-pinching approach" that hurts Manitobans.
Birth certificates are critical to obtaining other government documents, such as a passport, and necessary when getting married, applying for citizenship and sometimes even confirming employment, the NDP says.
Birth certificates aren't the only documents being delayed.
There were 84,862 documents issued this year, including birth, death and marriage certificates and genealogy requests, a drop from 121,093 the year before and 117,914 in 2018-2019.
A spokesperson from the province says it's taken steps to improve services and has processed nearly all of the requests.
"As of October 5, 2021 [Vital Statistics Agency ] has processed 99.99 per cent (with 43 left to go). Turn around times have been reduced by 50 per cent," the spokesperson said in an email.
The department has done that by renovating the existing office space to improve client service, and incorporate more modern information technologies, the spokesperson said.