December 11, 1979 (31st Parliament, 1st Session)


Thomas Scott Fennell (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Communications)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Scott Fennell (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Communications):

In so far as the Department of Communications is concerned, the answer to the above question is as follows:
1. A staff of approximately 100 operators are available on a 24-hour basis, seven days a week, to handle incoming and outgoing calls in Ottawa, on the government network. From this staff complement, 25 to 30 operators are required for normal work days to meet our service objective which is to respond to 95 per cent of all calls within ten seconds. The number of operators on duty is adjusted to forecasted and actual call volumes.
2. The total cost of rented telephone services to the government in the fiscal year 1978-79 was approximately $110,000,000.
3. The contracted operators for the switchboard serving the government in Ottawa have an average of approximately ten years of operator experience. Operators receive standard telephone company training supplemented by special instructions applicable to government switchboard operations.
4. It is the policy of the government that operators provide as polite and courteous a service as required from regular Bell Canada operators. Telephone operator manuals and practices require that all difficulties that may arise, whether reported in progress or after the fact by the caller or the operator, be referred to the supervisory level. Procedures are provided for the resolution of all such occurrences. Only very few complaints concerning operator service have been reported.
5. My departmental officials carry out an active program, in order to achieve and maintain the highest possible level of
December 11, 1979

operator services. This program includes the continuous update of the Telephone Operator Practices Manual, maintenance of bilingual services in accordance with the Official Languages Act, improvement of sensitivity and responsiveness to the public including the provision of information services such as the government index of programs and services.

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