Don't blame the tech guy: Federal 1-800 staffers aren't “dropping calls” — they're just not answering

Don't blame the tech guy: Federal 1-800 staffers aren't dropping calls, they're just not answering
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Many Canadians calling federal offices to apply for COVID-19 lockdown benefits are being frustrated by constant busy signals.

However, Canada's federal IT nerds at Shared Services Canada are pushing back after being blamed for the problem.

Paul Glover, the president of Shared Services, testified at the Commons government operations committee earlier this week that calls to federal 1-800 numbers aren't being dropped — they're being ignored.

According to Blacklock's Reporter:

“MPs from all parties have cited numerous complaints from constituents unable to speak to live agents at federal call centres.”

Canada's Digital Government Minister Joyce Murray, whose staff are in hot water for using the Chinese-owned WeChat messenger app to solicit money to advance a lawsuit against a Global News journalist, said that many federal call centre employees are “overwhelmed” and many are working from home.

Glover defended the quality of the phone tree, but only once a caller made it into the system. The problem is that callers aren't even being accepted into the queue in the first place:

“So if we don’t include those, calls that enter the system and then are routed through, I’m not aware of any dropped calls in the last number of days.”

Witnesses brought to the committee reported calling in upwards of 27 times before speaking to a federal agent, and another said she waited forty minutes on hold.

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  • By Sheila Gunn Reid


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