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Millions of callers to federal agencies unable to get through to a real person: AG


Senior Member
This is the government we voted in.

OTTAWA -- If you were one of the millions who tried to reach a federal department or agency on the phone in the last year or so, this may not come as much of a surprise, but a new report from the federal auditor general has found that millions of callers have been unable to speak with a real person when they call looking for assistance.

The audit — which looked at the call centres of Employment and Social Development Canada; Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada; and Veterans Affairs Canada — was tabled in Parliament Tuesday morning as part of the spring package of auditor general reports.

"Half of the 16 million Canadians trying to reach an agent in a government call centre could not get through," the report states.

The kinds of people that are calling these departments include: people applying for disability benefits, inquiring about their pensions or old age security; people calling about the status of their citizenship or permanent resident applications; and veterans or their families inquiring about benefit programs.

The audit found that, at both the department of Employment and Social Development and the department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, instead of giving callers the option to wait to speak with an agent, millions of callers were redirected to the automated system, or told to go to the website or call back another time.

For those that called Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and were able to get through, the wait was around 30 minutes to speak with an agent. While Veterans Affairs did not bump any calls to an automated system, often those waiting to speak with someone hung up before their call was taken.

In each of these cases the auditor general's office examined different lengths and period of time for each department, based on internal data.

Here's a breakdown of the millions of calls made:
  • 40 per cent of calls about Employment Insurance were prevented from reaching an agent; while 52 per cent were answered, and eight per cent hung up.
  • 42 per cent of calls about the Canada Pension Plan or old age security were prevented from reaching an agent; while 49 per cent were answered, and nine per cent hung up.
  • 70 per cent of calls to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada were prevented from reaching an agent, while 22 per cent were answered and eight per cent hung up.
  • None of the calls to Veterans Affairs Canada were prevented from reaching an agent, though only 79 per cent of callers actually spoke with an agent, the other 21 per cent hung up before their calls were taken.
"Call centres are a key source of government information. Callers make millions of calls to the government every year to get the information they need to make time-sensitive, important decisions," the report states.

Among the issues the AG's office noted in this probe was that Veterans Affairs Canada stopped providing teletypewriter services for callers who are deaf and hard of hearing, but did not consult, or tell veterans first.

Both Employment and Social Development Canada and Veterans Affairs Canada had targets for how many minutes it should take to answer a call, though on average less than half of the calls to these centres are answered within the targeted time frame. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada did not have what the AG referred to as a "timeliness target" set.

The recommendations the report makes for these departments include improving the management of incoming calls by looking at allowing callers to decide if they prefer to wait, or have the call centre call them back later; and proactively reporting on call centre service standards and performance results.

In response to the auditor general's findings, the departments cited call volumes exceeding their capacities, the lack of funding to hire more call agents, and waiting on access to updated technology. Largely, the departments agreed with the findings and have vowed to make improvements.

This is not the first time the auditor general has looked into, and found lacking, customer service and other troubling practices at government call centres.

The department that oversees all government IT, Shared Services Canada is in the midst of consolidating and modernizing all 221 of its call centres, and now five years into that work, those improvements had occurred in just eight. With no final plan on completing the rest, the AG's office is estimating it'll be years before all Canadians who call into federal call centres for assistance receive efficient service.



Senior Member
Andrew_;n1469370 said:
Why are you surprised?. Union rules and corrupts employees with so many bullshit rules.
You are right, shouldn't be surprised.

One of the reasons the Ont. Fiberals don't even officially a provincial party status.
Now for the Federal Fiberals.

Something else to get your blood boiling, don't know of its still the case, but did you know that silly servants who smoke, are allowed ADDITIONAL breaks over and above all other silly servants because, wait for it,... they have an addiction.

But it gets better, they do NOT have to make any attempt to quit.


Senior Member
The conservatives are better on trying to get better but remember the Liberals would completely ignore you unless you have money.


Senior Member
You've been sleeping under a rock lately?.
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