Callers waited 53 minutes on hold to speak to Ottawa 311 agents the day Ontario introduced Stay-at-Home order

OTTAWA — Callers to Ottawa’s 311 service waited nearly an hour to talk to an agent the day Ontario introduced a stay-at-home order in April.

In response to an inquiry from Coun. Mathieu Fleury about an increase in 311 call volumes this year, city staff say the longest wait time to speak to an agent was on Thursday, April 8.

Staff say the longest wait time for a 311 call was between 5:30 p.m. and 5:45 p.m., with a wait time of 53 minutes and 56 seconds.

“On this day, the Ontario government issued a province-wide Stay-at-Home order requiring residents to stay home for non-essential reasons, prompting calls for questions and complaints,” said staff.

“Higher than usual call volumes were expected in light of the announcement, and additional resources were allocated to support the influx of calls.

Ottawa’s open data website shows there were 90 calls to 311 on April 8 asking questions about the COVID-19 stay-at-home order, in addition to other calls about city business.

The 311 line received 65 calls about COVID-19 restrictions on April 7 and 107 calls on April 9.

The longest wait time for a 311 agent on a weekend was Saturday, April 3, between 7:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. Callers waited 40 minutes and 45 seconds to speak with a 311 agent.

April 3 was the day Ontario entered a province-wide shutdown with new measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. Staff say the move to the shutdown prompted calls for questions and complaints.

Ottawa’s Open Data shows there were 111 calls to 311 about the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions on April 3.

There were another 85 calls to 311 on April 4 about the COVID-19 restrictions.

Staff say the average caller wait times between January and June 2021 was two minutes and seven seconds on weekdays and one minute and 22 seconds on weekends.

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