Canada Employment and Immigration Union -
February 15, 2011

Lobbying of MP’s continues over Service Canada call centres

The message about declining service to the public has been taken to more MP’s in British Columbia and Ontario. CEIU is calling for improvements to working conditions to stem the turnover and sickness rates that are at the root of the service problem.

Vancouver Local President Colbey Peters and PSAC Representative Garry Fraser met MP Fin Donnelly (New Westminster-Coquitlam & Port Moody) to outline the effect of working conditions on service to the public. With staff expected to meet targets for client contact that are well above industry standards, the elevated stress levels lead inevitably to higher rates of turnover and sickness. For pensioners and the unemployed, this simply means fewer experienced hands to take on the work. Donnelly will be taking the issue to the NDP caucus to consider their next steps.

In Toronto, Local 648 President Genie Mcdougall met with Liberal MP Mark Holland (Ajax-Pickering) to deliver the message about Service Canada. The two also discussed legislation aimed at improving conditions at Canadian call centres that is being put forward by MP Tony Martin (Sault Ste. Marie), and Holland gave his support to the initiative.

To improve service to the public, the union is proposing that Service Canada lower the client contact time, or “occupancy rate”, to 80% — the recognized level in the call centre industry. This would reduce the level of stress and the turnover and absence rates that are driving workers out of the call centres. To date, the employer maintains that it recognizes the 80% occupancy rate, but the reality on the call centre floor is very different.

Face to face meetings with MP’s will continue in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, members can send a message to their MP through the Parliament of Canada website.

Colbey Peters & Fin Donnelly

Geni McDougall & Mark Holland

Related stories

Vancouver MP’s briefed on service issues at call centres

MP’s learn about service issues from CEIU members

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