The future of ServiceOntario options in Dresden is still up in the air.
Leanne Segeren-Swayze, the director of customer services for Chatham-Kent who oversees the Dresden municipal centre, says the Municipality is under contract with the province until December 23, but failed to win a bid to renew the contract.
Segeren-Swayze said Chatham-Kent applied through the RFP process in the beginning of January.
“We followed all the steps that we required for any ServiceOntario location that was at the end of their contract,” she said. “So we did go through the procurement process with the province. We were notified that we were not the successful vendor for Dresden ServiceOntario.”
Segeren-Swayze said they have been told by the province that there is a list of potential vendors.
“They have narrowed it down, but they would not confirm specifically that even one was going to be selected,” she said. “There is not a guarantee that Service Ontario will even continue with a different vendor in Dresden. We can not confirm that.”
Segeren-Swayze added: “They did confirm with us that we will continue as the ServiceOntario Dresden location until December 23rd, 2015. After that time, we will not be in a contract with the province to provide health card services, driver, vehicle and the provincial identification. At that point I do not know if there will be another vendor. That is where the unknown is. They haven’t committed to a time that they release that information.”
Segeren-Swayze said the services offered at the Dresden municipal building will be reviewed this year, as it is each budget season.
“Every year we do a budget process, which we do every year in the fall, we do a lot of preparation on business plans and doing a review of the sustainability of services,” she said. “We look at all of our services every budget. We will certainly be doing a review again of the municipal centre but at this point in time, unless something comes through the budget process, we don’t have any definitive plans to change the existing service.
Segeren-Swayze added: “We will certainly be looking at the required hours for the municipal centre in Dresden. Statistics for the location are a little low to be honest but from the Municipal side of it, it was very popular for the ServiceOntario. We will certainly be doing a review but that isn’t unusual. That’s what we do prior to every budget for the viability of the services, but at this time we have no intention of making any changes.”
The Municipality and ServiceOntario entered into a contract in 2003 to provide services, such as: the administration and issuance of driver and vehicle licensing, health cards, and provincial identification.
Segeren-Swayze said the previous private ServiceOntario vendor had not renewed their service provider agreement, and other applicants did not come forward.
Segeren-Swayze said the Municipality “stepped up for the citizens of the area to try and secure that contract and continue with that service in Dresden.
“We were successful at that time. That is why we applied for that location only. The Municipality doesn’t want to compete with private Sector for a service that could be provided by private sector. That is why that particular location is unique and we have not applied for other locations. During the RFP process with the province for ServiceOntario now, we have the option to apply for other location within other communities. You can apply for any community across Ontario. We chose to only reapply for our Dresden office,” Segeren-Swayze said.
At this point Segeren-Swayze said she wants “the citizens in Dresden to know that unless different information is announced or something different is approved through the budget process and with council, we will not be closing our office.
“We do feel bad that we lost this contract, but if someone else does pick up the contract with ServiceOntario, we certainly are supportive in helping them to get up and running and doing whatever we can to help them be successful. That is important to us. Especially if it is someone in Dresden, that will be successful with that contract,” she said.
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