According to a report from the CRA, even though the government has invested millions in call centers in recent years, taxpayers still only have a 50/50 chance of speaking with a live agent within 15 minutes.
According to a 2022 briefing for the minister of national revenue, wait times often exceeded an hour during peak periods in 2020–2021, or more than three hours, to reach specialized agents. Within the fifteen-minute target service standard, only 33% of calls were answered.
Building on a promise of $206 million made in 2018, the government made investments to hire more workers and improve call center capacity before 2022. A recently published report on service standards for 2022 that was viewed by Blacklock’s Reporter indicates that CRA was able to improve service to the point where 54% of calls were answered within 15 minutes.
That still falls short of CRA’s target of 65%. The frequency of errors was not mentioned in the report. An Auditor General report found that 30 percent of the time in 2017, CRA agents gave incorrect information to callers.
CRA has been working for a long time to fix the issues outlined in that 2017 report. For instance, the Auditor General discovered that CRA blocked approximately 29 million of the calls it received because it was unable to handle the volume. Something like 30% of calls arrived at a live specialist, with 14% going to computerized self-administration choices.
“Each caller attempted to call an average of three or four times per week. According to the report, some callers were unable to reach an agent or the automated self-service system even after making multiple attempts. This finding is significant because taxpayers require immediate access to accurate information to prepare their tax returns and verify their benefits.
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