A report on the CBC today is saying that the ServiceOntario office at 1 Stone Road is closing this October. The Guelph office is one of nine being closed over the next year including offices in Milton and Mississauga, all part of what the provincial government is calling a move "within a framework of fiscal responsibility."
"After careful analysis, a decision has been made to close the ServiceOntario centre and land registry office in Guelph," Anne-Marie Flanagan, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, told CBC News. "ServiceOntario centres are also closing in some other communities, but as we move forward, customer service is and will continue to be our top priority."
For the record, Guelph has two ServiceOntario offices, with the Stone Road office handling photo identification, vehicle registration, driver's licence and health card renewals, services for businesses and job seekers, fish and wildlife documents, tax information, housing and property records and forms, publications and official documents; while the Woodlawn Road office - which is privately run - only handles vehicle registration, photo identification and driver's licence and health card renewals. Most of the Stone Road services will be downloaded to Woodlawn, but some services will only now be available out of the next closest ServiceOntario office in Kitchener.
As for the 10 employees of the Stone Road office, Flanagan said, "We're really optimistic that we're going to minimize involuntary job loss." But there are no guarantees. Regardless, it seems unusual that a growing city would lose a ServiceOntario office in a building operated by the Government of Ontario, while leaving all the work it does to a single, smaller office at the far north end of town that isn't even technically run by the government. And it's a busy office to boot, considering the number of out of town people that come to Guelph to take their driver's test.
The ServiceOntario office at 1 Stone Road will close October 31.