OTTAWA - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Service Canada employees can and should be working from home, despite the growing demand generated by financial aid applications.

The federal government announced Thursday night it would close down the network of in-person Service Canada centres over COVID-19 concerns.

Trudeau says the move was motivated by the fact employees are being encouraged to work from home.

He says the government has made "significant efforts" over the last several years to make sure anything available in physical Service Canada centres is also available online or by phone.

He adds that alternative arrangements will be made for anyone particularly vulnerable who needs personalized services.

The union that represents the Service Canada employees supports the move, saying it will protect workers without sacrificing service.