The new delivery model looks to centralize Agriculture and Resource Development services in Manitoba
Blaine Pedersen, minister of Agriculture and Resource Development in Manitoba, recently announced a new rural service delivery model for Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC) offices in the province.
In the new model, 21 offices are closing staring April 1 in:
- Fisher Branch;
- Pilot Mound;
- Shoal Lake;
- Ste. Rose du Lac;
- Vita; and
Seventeen offices will remain open across the province to continue to offer services. Of the 17 offices, 10 agricultural services centres will provide services such as insurance and lending, five will focus on resource management and two will focus on mineral or petroleum services.
“MASC had various services at different offices. So, this is consolidating them into one office, which will make it much more customer and client friendly,” said Pedersen during a media call. “In addition, we're creating nine non-public facing offices. These deal mainly with water, Crownland, our research, our research technologies, particularly happening in agriculture and our other resources.”
This new delivery process was in the works before the COVID-19 pandemic forced offices to close March 2020. Many offices were averaging two people per day coming into the office pre-COVID, some even averaging two people a week, said Pederson.
“There was definitely need for modernization here,” he said. “I was talking to a farmer yesterday about this after the announcement, he said, ‘Well, I haven't been in MASC office for years.’ So, we're trying to catch up to the farm sector where they are right now.”
With this change, no employees are losing their jobs, in fact some new jobs are being created out of this, said Pedersen.
“The people will continue to live in these communities where the offices are closing,” he said. “We want to make this as seamless as possible and support those communities that the people are living in now and will continue to work with the communities with the municipalities.”