2014-2015 Client Satisfaction Survey Report

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

This section details the key findings and conclusions which follow from the 2014-2015 client satisfaction research among clients of the Canadian Transportation Agency. Separate phases of quantitative and qualitative research were conducted.

The quantitative research consisted of 288 surveys conducted among six client types: those who went through an inspection or new licensing process, those involved in a travel-related dispute adjudication, those involved in a non-travel related dispute adjudication and multi-party determination, those whose disputes were facilitated by the Agency, those involved in a mediation, and those involved in arbitration.

Respondents to the online survey from adjudication, mediation, arbitration, and non-travel dispute adjudication were asked at the end of the survey if they would be willing to be contacted by EKOS for a follow-up interview. Eleven of these respondents indicated they would be willing to be interviewed, and a total of eight qualitative interviews were conducted by telephone with these respondents. The majority of these interviewees were involved in air transportation disputes, and the majority initiated the complaint to the Agency.

This summary presents the key findings ensuing from both research components.

The contract amount of this research is $45,989.09 (including HST).

Key Findings

Satisfaction with the Agency

Clients were asked how satisfied they were with the overall quality of service provided by the Agency, regardless of the outcome of their interaction with the Agency. Two-thirds of respondents (66 per cent) report satisfaction with the service they received. The 2014/2015 results are down from 2013/2014 (when 72 per cent of clients indicated satisfaction with the Agency). However, it should be noted that this year's survey contained a higher proportion of adjudication cases, which tend to be more adversarial in nature, and this affects both outcome and satisfaction levels.

Clients were also asked to rate the extent to which they felt that their interaction with the Agency met their objectives. Just over half (52 per cent) say that the process met their objectives either fully (34 per cent) or largely (18 per cent). This is down slightly from 2013/2014; however, if adjudication respondents are removed, results are consistent with last year (although still down from 2012/2013 and 2011/2012).

As in previous years, satisfaction with the overall quality of service provided by the Agency is closely tied to whether or not the objectives of the respondents' interaction were met. Among those who say that their objectives were met, over nine in ten report satisfaction with the overall quality of service (97 per cent).

Clients were asked how long it took to receive an acknowledgement of their issue from the Agency, and what timeframe would be acceptable to receive an acknowledgement. Results reveal that about four in ten respondents (39 per cent) say they received an acknowledgement from the Agency within five days (down from 46 per cent in 2013/2014). Results further reveal that one in five clients indicated they had to wait more than 30 days for an acknowledgement (20 per cent), and very few (four per cent) find it acceptable to wait this long.

Respondents were also asked how long it took from the time they submitted their issue to the Agency to the resolution of the issue, and also what they consider to be an acceptable time to resolve their issue. One in seven (15 per cent) said it took between one and thirty days for their issue to be resolved: down from 26 per cent in 2012/2013. Results further reveal that most respondents (43 per cent) expect the Agency to resolve their issue in 30 days or less.

Most qualitative interviewees felt that the adjudication process was not very efficient because they thought that it took longer than it should have, in some cases one year or more. Two factors were identified as contributing to the lack of efficiency: 1) the granting of extensions by the Agency to industry lawyers, and 2) delays and uncertainty at the case officer level. Here, some interviewees spoke about waiting three months for someone to be assigned to their case, being shuffled from one officer to another, and getting contradictory opinions from different Agency officers. It is important to note, however, that Agency staff were also often characterized as polite and pleasant.

Views on Agency Interactions

Clients were asked to rate the importance of various aspects of service from the Agency. Results reveal that all of the aspects of service examined are seen as important by a majority of clients, although the knowledge and competence of staff and the accuracy of the information provided are seen as particularly important. Impartiality of staff, helpfulness of staff, and being provided with information that is easy to understand are also seen as highly important. The time it takes to resolve the matter, and the time it takes to acknowledge their issue are seen as relatively less important issues (although most clients still see these as important service aspects).

Respondents were also asked to rate their satisfaction with these various aspects of service. Results reveal that the majority of clients are at least somewhat satisfied across virtually all of the aspects examined. Respondents are most satisfied with the courtesy of staff, and the ease of dealing with staff. A clear majority are also satisfied with the knowledge and competence of staff, the helpfulness of staff, and staff accessibility. The time required to receive acknowledgment and the time it took to resolve the matter garnered the lowest levels of satisfaction. Tracking reveals a slight decline over the past year in satisfaction levels across many of the aspects examined (although part of the decline is due to a higher proportion of adjudication cases). However, satisfaction with the time it took to acknowledge the client's issue has declined significantly over the past year (down 12 per cent), and this decline goes beyond the impact of adjudication respondents.

Respondents were also asked to indicate how important they found several other aspects of their experience with service from the Agency. Results reveal that all aspects are seen as at least somewhat important by roughly eight in ten or more clients. Focusing on the "very important" responses only, results reveal that clients place the most importance on the fairness of treatment they receive, and being informed of everything they need to do.

Clients were also asked whether or not they agreed with a number of statements about these same aspects of service. Across all of the statements, at least six in ten respondents strongly or somewhat agreed (i.e., expressed satisfaction). Respondents most often agree that the contact they had with the Agency was in the official language of their choice. A clear majority also agree that they were informed of everything they had to do in order for their matter to be dealt with by the Agency, and the Agency let them know what they could do in dealing with their matter. Respondents are least likely to agree that staff responded quickly, and that they were offered a variety of means of contacting Agency staff. Tracking reveals a slight decline in agreement with some of these statements over the past year, however, as with other findings, some of the decline is a result of the higher proportion of adjudication cases.

Views on Agency Process

Respondents were asked whether or not they agreed with a number of statements about Agency processes. Three in four agree that the Agency made clear the information required for submission, and seven in ten felt that the process was carried out in a professional manner. Only about half, however, feel that the process was impartial, or that they had enough opportunity to respond to the other party's point of view. Comparing these results to those found last year reveals a decrease in agreement across many of the areas examined, however, the decline is partly due to the higher proportion of adjudication cases.

Most qualitative interviewees did not think the adjudication process was impartial. They felt that the Agency and the airlines were working together to get them to "settle" (i.e., accept what the industry was offering) as quickly as possible. Many felt there were back channel communications between the airlines and the Agency. The adjudication process was described as "lacking transparency". Many interviewees indicated that they never seemed to know what to expect, or how long things would take. Some felt that while they understood the "outcome" of their case, they were not able to clearly understand on what basis the ruling was made.

Interacting with the Agency

Respondents were asked which method they used to get information about the Agency during the course of their interaction with the Agency. The Agency's website is identified most often as the method used to obtain information, followed by email. Tracking reveals that the Agency website has increased significantly as a source of information about the Agency.

Clients were also asked which method they would most prefer to use to get information about the Agency. Four in ten indicated the Agency website (44 per cent, up six per cent since 2013/2014), and email (42 per cent, down eight points since 2013/2014). Only about one in ten (nine per cent) indicate a preference for telephone.

Survey results further reveal that, consistent with previous years, over nine in ten (93 per cent) indicate that they have visited the Agency's website.

Those who visited the Agency's website were asked about their satisfaction with the website. Roughly six in ten indicate that the information on the website was easy to understand (57 per cent - down two percentage points since 2013/2014), and that the website had the information they were looking for (57 per cent - down four points since 2013/2014). Just over half indicated that it was easy to find information they needed on the website (53 per cent - and this is down seven per cent over the past year).

Results further reveal that six in ten feel the Agency's website is accessible (64 per cent - down four percentage points over the past year), and that the information on the website is useful (63 per cent - down two points over the past year). Only about half feel that the Agency's website is easy to navigate (52 per cent, and this is down nine points since last year).

However, it should be noted that some of the decline in satisfaction with the website may be due to multiple and rapid changes to the website related to preparing the Agency's web presence for the transition to the Government of Canada Web Renewal Initiative.

Additional Qualitative Findings

Results reveal that many interviewees felt that the adjudication process they went through lacked fairness. They felt that the adjudication process was too complex, intimidating and exhausting for an "average person", with no legal training, to argue against one or more "high priced" corporate lawyers. Adding to the complexity were legal documents that the average person would have difficulty interpreting.

A few indicated that their primary motivation for filing a complaint with the Agency was not to obtain compensation from the industry, but to effect meaningful change to practices and policies. However, they feel the process is designed to deal with complaints through offers of compensation (e.g., cash, a free airline ticket, etc.), rather than change the way the industry operates.

The main theme to emerge from interviewees' discussion of potential process enhancements centered on a need to clarify the Agency's mandate, and manage expectations. A number felt that the process would be enhanced if individuals had a better idea about what to expect; for example, that they would likely have to respond to arguments from very skilled lawyers, and that the adjudication process could take a year or more.

Overall assessment of service quality was fairly positive. Agency case officers were praised for being "nice", and in some cases for their ability to answer questions and provide some assistance. However, many interviewees felt that the adjudication process is too time consuming, is based on complex legal documents, and puts individuals in a position where they have to respond to "high priced corporate lawyers". In this context, having polite staff can seem almost trivial.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Overall satisfaction with Agency is fairly high, but has declined somewhat over the past year (although some of this decline is a result of a higher proportion of adjudication cases). Most clients believe that their objectives were met in their dealings with the Agency (although results are down somewhat over the past few years). Results also reveal that length of time to acknowledge and resolve issues have worsened in recent years.

Satisfaction with specific aspects of Agency service is fairly high, but has declined somewhat over the past few years in a number of areas, particularly the time it took to acknowledge client issues.

The vast majority of clients have visited the Agency's website, and the website and e-mail are seen as the preferred methods to get information about the Agency. Satisfaction with the website is reasonably high, but has declined in some areas over the past year, particularly in terms of the ease of finding information, and ease of navigation.

As was found in last year's quantitative research, these results suggest some areas are in need of Agency attention:

  • Improving the time it takes to resolve issues (down substantially for 1-30 days over past few years).
  • Looking into why the timeliness of acknowledgement of issues is down this year.
  • Improving accuracy of information provided should be given high priority.
  • Investigating why the ease of finding information on the website and ease of navigation have declined.

The Agency may want to continue to examine client perceptions to monitor key issues such as whether satisfaction ratings are rebounding, and if satisfaction with the website improves as clients become more accustomed to the recent redesign.

In addition, the results of the qualitative interviews suggest the following:

  • Enhanced transparency throughout the process in order to: 1) give both sides a better idea of how the Agency is viewing a case: i.e., why it is asking for certain types of information, how it is weighing the evidence, and the basis on which it is making its decisions; and 2) to give individuals a better idea of what to expect to allow them to make a more informed decision about whether they want to proceed with a process that could be very time consuming and stressful.
  • Findings also suggest that the Agency clarify its mandate and role, and manage expectations about the type of assistance that individuals should expect from the Agency (to dispel any notion that the Agency will represent individuals, the way an ombudsman might).

1. Background, Objectives, and Methodology

The Canadian Transportation Agency is an independent, quasi-judicial tribunal and economic regulator. It makes decisions and determinations on a wide range of matters involving air, rail and marine modes of transportation under the authority of Parliament, as set out in the Canada Transportation Act and other legislation.

The Agency's mandate includes:

  • Economic regulation, to provide approvals, issue licences, permits and certificates of fitness, and make decisions on a wide range of matters involving federal air, rail and marine transportation.
  • Dispute resolution, to resolve complaints about federal transportation services, rates, fees and charges.
  • Accessibility, to ensure Canada's national transportation system is accessible to all persons, particularly those with disabilities.

The Agency supports the goal of a competitive and accessible national transportation system that fulfills the needs of Canadians and the Canadian economy.

1.1 Objectives of the Research

Client satisfaction research data allows the Agency to gauge its success as a client-centered organization. This ongoing collection of feedback on its services, relationships and performance is part of its process for continuous improvement, and has proved invaluable in shaping the Agency's priorities. Feedback received has enabled the Agency to develop a better understanding of the responsiveness and quality of its services and processes, identify areas and priorities for improvement, and chart progress in making them clearer, simpler and more effective.

The Agency's research on client satisfaction is directly related to the Government of Canada's management accountability framework (MAF) on results for Canadians. Most significantly, it supports the government's initiative on client-centered service delivery, and ultimately leads to better quality information for parliamentarians about the Agency's programs and results.

Also, as per the Agency's 2014-17 Strategic Plan and ongoing commitment to service excellence, the Agency is committed to enhanced dialogue and engagement and is seeking ways to understand the client/ stakeholder experience and providing insight into what drives overall satisfaction with the Agency.

A formal Client Satisfaction Survey Framework was therefore designed to complement existing mechanisms for capturing client/stakeholder perceptions of their interaction with the Agency. Client satisfaction surveys are a decision-making tool intended to help the organization improve its service delivery.

EKOS Research Associates was commissioned by the Canadian Transportation Agency to conduct a survey of client satisfaction. The research has several objectives:

  • Establishing baseline levels of satisfaction with various aspects of service and measuring improvement over time
  • Identifying elements of service in need of improvement in order to be client-centred and responsive
  • Connecting the research to government-wide efforts to deliver client-centred services

This research employs a range of core measures from the Common Measurement Tool (CMT). The CMT is a comprehensive survey instrument used by the Government of Canada to measure client satisfaction. This research examined overall client satisfaction with the Agency, as well as satisfaction with timelines, accessibility of service, fairness, competence, and ease of access to information. The establishment of baseline data on client satisfaction is an important element of the Treasury Board Secretariat's Service Improvement Initiative.

The Agency has conducted five previous research projects examining client satisfaction (in 2009-2010; 2010-2011; 2011-2012; 2012-2013; and 2013-2014), and many findings in this report are compared with these earlier surveys.

1.2 Methodology

a) Quantitative Methodology

The methodology for this study involved an online survey of clients of the Canadian Transportation Agency. The sample was provided to EKOS by the Agency. The following audiences were sampled:

  • Travel-related dispute adjudication: Those with travel-related adjudicated disputes and determinations (ADJ)
  • Facilitation: Passengers with travel-related complaints processed through facilitation (including persons with disabilities) (FAC)
  • Inspection and new licensing: New licensing and inspection activity (INSP)
  • Mediation: Those who have been involved in mediation (MED)
  • Non-travel dispute adjudication: Those with both non-travel-related dispute adjudication and multi-party determination (NTD)
  • Arbitration: Parties involved in arbitration

The table below presents the number of completed surveys and response rates across the five target audiences surveyed (response rates were calculated by dividing the number of completed surveys by the number of sent surveys, for all audiences).

Table 1: Response Rate
  FAC ADJ NTD MED LIC/INSP Arbitration Totals
Complete 206 24 4 7 46 1 288
Sent 619 118 19 37 179 6 978
Response Rate (%) 33% 20% 21% 19% 26% 17% 30%

The surveys were conducted primarily online, although a limited number of surveys were administered by paper and returned to EKOS for manual data entry.

Among the six audiences interviewed, two audiences generated completed surveys in numbers high enough for independent statistical analysis: inspection and new licensing (n=46, when taken together), and facilitation (n=206). The other audiences, drawing from much smaller universes, did not generate large enough samples for independent statistical analysis. As a result, the data from these smaller audiences should be interpreted as directional in nature.

While some questions in the survey were specific to a particular audience, several areas of inquiry, based on the CMT, were common to all audiences. This report provides the results of those questions asked in a common fashion across multiple audiences. Please also note that responses may not always sum to 100 per cent due to rounding.

Throughout, the research results are tracked to the 2013/2014, 2012/2013, 2011/2012, 2010/2011, and 2009/2010 iterations. The audiences included in 2010/2011 and 2009/2010 surveys differed slightly from the more recent surveys. In 2010/2011, respondents who made an inquiry to the Agency were included, while during the 2009/2010 research, only facilitation and mediation clients were included.

b) Qualitative Interviews: Methodology

Given that the small size of these audiences meant it was not possible to perform independent statistical analysis of the quantitative results, respondents to the online survey from adjudication, mediation, arbitration, and non-travel dispute adjudication (n=36) were asked at the end of the survey if they would be willing to be contacted by EKOS for a follow-up interview. Eleven of these respondents indicated they would be willing to be interviewed, and a total of eight qualitative interviews were conducted by telephone with these respondents during April 2015.

Seven were adjudication respondents and one was an industry representative who had experience with a range of Agency processes. Three of the adjudication respondents were part of a collective case. One other interviewee, a lawyer for a major transportation company, spoke about her Agency experiences in general over the past two years. The interviews lasted between 30 to 45 minutes. The purpose of these interviews was to add texture and allow for more probing of quantitative findings.

2. Detailed Findings - Quantitative

2.1 Satisfaction with the Agency

In order to determine clients' level of satisfaction with their Agency interaction, respondents were asked to rate their overall satisfaction with the Agency, and why they felt this way.

Clients were asked how satisfied they were with the overall quality of service provided by the Agency, regardless of the outcome of their interaction with the Agency, using a scale of one to five, where one means very dissatisfied and five means very satisfied. Two-thirds of respondents (66 per cent) report satisfaction with the service that they received from the Agency (rating as a four or five on the scale). One in five (22 per cent) report dissatisfaction with the quality of service that they received (rating as a one or two on the scale), and 11 per cent express a neutral view (rating as a three on the scale).

The 2014/2015 results are down from 2013/2014 (when 72 per cent of clients indicated satisfaction with the Agency). However, it should be noted that even when respondents are asked to set aside their views on the outcome of their case, this tends to colour respondents' assessment of their satisfaction. With this in mind, the current results are influenced by a higher proportion of adjudication respondents who were dissatisfied with the outcome of their case, and are therefore very negative in their assessment of the service provided by the Agency.

Satisfaction with the Agency
Satisfaction with the Agency
  • Long description

    Regardless of the nature of their interaction, two in three clients are satisfied with the overall quality of service provided by the Agency.

    This chart has six horizontal stacked bars, one representing 2014/2015, one representing 2013/2014, one representing 2012/2013, one representing 2011/2012, one representing 2010/2011, and one representing 2009/2010. On a scale of 5 points where 1 means very dissatisfied, 2 somewhat dissatisfied, 3 neither, 4 somewhat satisfied, and 5 means very satisfied.

    Respondents were asked: Putting aside your views on the outcome of your dealings with the Agency, how satisfied were you with the overall quality of service provided by the Agency?

    • In 2014/2015, respondents selected very satisfied (44 per cent), somewhat satisfied (22 per cent), neither (11 per cent), somewhat dissatisfied (7 per cent), and very dissatisfied (15 per cent). Combined total somewhat/very satisfied (66 per cent).
    • In 2013/2014, respondents selected very satisfied (53 per cent), somewhat satisfied (19 per cent), neither (9 per cent), somewhat dissatisfied (6 per cent), and very dissatisfied (11 per cent). Combined total somewhat/very satisfied (72 per cent).
    • In 2012/2013, respondents selected very satisfied (51 per cent), somewhat satisfied (24 per cent), neither (7 per cent), somewhat dissatisfied (7 per cent), and very dissatisfied (10 per cent). Combined total somewhat/very satisfied (75 per cent).
    • In 2011/2012, respondents selected very satisfied (52 per cent), somewhat satisfied (24 per cent), neither (7 per cent), somewhat dissatisfied (4 per cent), and very dissatisfied (12 per cent). Combined total somewhat/very satisfied (76 per cent).
    • In 2010/2011, respondents selected very satisfied (41 per cent), somewhat satisfied (24 per cent), neither (13 per cent), somewhat dissatisfied (7 per cent), and very dissatisfied (13 per cent). Combined total somewhat/very satisfied (65 per cent).
    • In 2009/2010, respondents selected very satisfied (44 per cent), somewhat satisfied (21 per cent), neither (8 per cent), somewhat dissatisfied (7 per cent), and very dissatisfied (6 per cent) (14 per cent). Combined total somewhat/very satisfied (65 per cent).

    The base size is n=288

2.2 Reason for Satisfaction with the Agency

Respondents satisfied with the Agency were asked to identify the main reason for their satisfaction with the service received. These respondents most often say that they are satisfied because of the excellent service they received (56 per cent, and this is up four per cent since 2013/2014). One in seven indicated that they were satisfied with the outcome of the interaction (17 per cent), and one in ten felt that the service was prompt/timely (11 per cent).

Reason for Satisfaction
Reason for Satisfaction
  • Long description

    Reasons for level of satisfaction with the quality of service provided by the Agency among those satisfied with the overall quality of service.

    This chart has five horizontal single bars.

    Respondents were asked: Main reason for the positive rating given about overall quality of service provided by the Agency [Open]. Respondents selected:

    • "Excellent service" (56 per cent);
    • "Satisfied with outcome overall" (17 per cent);
    • "Prompt, timely, fast" (11 per cent);
    • "Process was clear/fair/impartial" (8 per cent); and
    • "Don't know/no response" (9 per cent).

    The base size is n=190.

2.3 Reason for Dissatisfaction with the Agency

Those who indicated that they were dissatisfied with the service they received tend to feel the Agency was not impartial in dealing with them (39 per cent, up from 24 per cent in 2013/2014), that it took too long to get answers (25 per cent, up from 20 per cent last year), or they were dissatisfied with the outcome overall (23 per cent, up 5 per cent since last year).

Reason for Dissatisfaction
Reason for Dissatisfaction
  • Long description

    Reasons for level of satisfaction with the quality of service provided by the Agency among those dissatisfied with the overall quality of service.

    This chart has five single horizontal bars.

    Respondents were asked: Main reason for the negative rating given about overall quality of service provided by the Agency [Open]. Respondents selected:

    • "Not impartial" (39 per cent);
    • "Took too long to get answers/for something to be done" (25 per cent);
    • "Dissatisfied with outcome overall" (23 per cent);
    • "Lack of authority/jurisdiction in matter" (22 per cent); and
    • "Don't know/no response" (6 per cent).

    The base size is n=64.

2.4 Perception of Agency Process Meeting Respondents' Objectives

Clients were also asked to rate the extent to which they felt that their interaction with the Agency met their objectives. Just over half (52 per cent) say that the process met their objectives either fully (34 per cent) or largely (18 per cent). This is down slightly from 2013/2014; however, if adjudication respondents are removed, results are consistent with last year (although still down from 2012/2013 and 2011/2012).

Perception of Agency Process Meeting Respondents'  Objectives
Perception of Agency Process Meeting Respondents' Objectives
  • Long description

    About half of respondents report that the process met their objectives, while three in ten say it did not.

    This chart has six horizontal stacked bars, one representing 2014/2015, one representing 2013/2014, one representing 2012/2013, one representing 2011/2012, one representing 2010/2011, and one representing 2009/2010. On a scale of 5 points where 1 means not at all, 2 a bit, 3 acceptable degree, 4 largely, and 5 fully.

    Respondents were asked: To what extent were your objectives met in your dealings with the Agency?

    • In 2014/2015, respondents selected fully (34 per cent), largely (18 per cent), to an acceptable degree (8 per cent), a bit (8 per cent), and not at all (30 per cent).
    • In 2013/2014, respondents selected fully (39 per cent), largely (17 per cent), to an acceptable degree (12 per cent), a bit (8 per cent), and not at all (24 per cent).
    • In 2012/2013, respondents selected fully (44 per cent), largely (17 per cent), to an acceptable degree (6 per cent), a bit (6 per cent), and not at all (25 per cent).
    • In 2011/2012, respondents selected fully (45 per cent), largely (19 per cent), to an acceptable degree (10 per cent), a bit (7 per cent), and not at all (16 per cent).
    • In 2010/2011, respondents selected fully (28 per cent), largely (16 per cent), to an acceptable degree (14 per cent), a bit (11 per cent), and not at all (28 per cent).
    • In 2009/2010, respondents selected fully (43 per cent), largely (8 per cent), to an acceptable degree (18 per cent), a bit (6 per cent), and not at all (21 per cent).

    The base size is n=288

2.5 Impact of Outcome on Satisfaction with the Agency

As in previous years, satisfaction with the overall quality of service provided by the Agency is closely tied to whether or not the objectives of the respondents' interaction were met. Among those who say that their objectives were met, over nine in ten report satisfaction with the overall quality of service (97 per cent). Seventy-five per cent report satisfaction with the overall quality of service among those whose objectives were met to an acceptable degree. Among those who say that their objectives were met only a bit or not at all, satisfaction with the service they received declines to 20 per cent (down 19 percentage points over the past two years).

Impact of Outcome on Satisfaction with the Agency
Impact of Outcome on Satisfaction with the Agency
  • Long description

    Satisfaction with overall quality of service is closely tied to the perception that their objectives were met.

    This chart has four single horizontal bars that shows the per cent satisfaction (4-5 on the scale) with service provided by the Agency among all respondents and among respondents based on the extent to which their objectives were met.

    Respondents' responses were for: "satisfaction among all respondents" (66 per cent). Satisfaction among those whose "objectives were fully or largely met" is 97 per cent; "objectives were met to an acceptable degree" is 75 per cent; and "objectives were a bit or not at all met" is 20 per cent.

    The base size is n=288

2.6 Timeliness of Acknowledgement from the Agency

Clients were asked how long it took to receive an acknowledgement from the Agency, and what timeframe would be acceptable to receive an acknowledgementFootnote 1 . Results reveal that about four in ten respondents (39 per cent) say they received an acknowledgement from the Agency within five days, and an additional 18 per cent indicated they received an acknowledgement within five to nine days. The proportion who received an acknowledgement within five days is down over the past year (from 46 per cent in 2013/2014 to 39 per cent currently).

Results further reveal that one in five clients indicated they had to wait more than 30 days for an acknowledgement (20 per cent), and very few (four per cent) find it acceptable to wait this long.

Timeliness of Acknowledgement from the Agency (1)
Timeliness of Acknowledgement from the Agency (1)
  • Long description

    This chart has six single tracking horizontal bars, with a bar representing 2014/2015, a bar representing 2013/2014, a bar representing 2012/2013, a bar representing 2011/2012, a bar representing 2010/2011, and a bar representing 2009/2010.

    Respondents were asked to: Please indicate the approximate number of days it took for the Agency to acknowledge your [application/complaint]?

    • In 2014/2015, the respondents selected: "Less than 5 days" (39 per cent); "5-9 days" (18 per cent); "10-19 days" (11 per cent); "20-29 days" (3 per cent); "30 days or more" (20 per cent).
    • In 2013/2014, the respondents selected: "Less than 5 days" (47 per cent); "5-9 days" (14 per cent); "10-19 days" (9 per cent); "20-24 days" (3 per cent); "25-29 days" (0 per cent); "30 days or more" (18 per cent).
    • In 2012/2013, the respondents selected: "Less than 5 days" (37 per cent); "5-9 days" (16 per cent); "10-19 days" (17 per cent); "20-24 days" (5 per cent); "25-29 days" (2 per cent); "30 days or more" (16 per cent).
    • In 2011/2012, the respondents selected: "1-4 days" (35 per cent); "5-9 days" (26 per cent); "10-19 days" (20 per cent); "20-24 days" (6 per cent); "25-29 days" (2 per cent); "30 days or more" (11 per cent).
    • In 2010/2011, the respondents selected: "1-4 days" (35 per cent); "5-9 days" (28 per cent); "10-19 days" (15 per cent); "20-24 days" (3 per cent); "25-29 days" (1 per cent); "30 days or more" (17 per cent).
    • In 2009/2010, the respondents selected: "1-4 days" (22 per cent); "5-9 days" (40 per cent); "10-19 days" (25 per cent); "20-24 days" (4 per cent); "25-29 days" (1 per cent); "30 days or more" (7 per cent).

    The base size is n=251.

Timeliness of Acknowledgement from the Agency (2)
Timeliness of Acknowledgement from the Agency (2)
  • Long description

    This chart has six single tracking horizontal bars, with a bar representing 2014/2015, a bar representing 2013/2014, a bar representing 2012/2013, a bar representing 2011/2012, a bar representing 2010/2011, and a bar representing 2009/2010.

    Respondents were also asked: What do you consider an acceptable number of days for the Agency to acknowledge your [application/complaint]?

    • In 2014/2015, respondents selected: “Less than 5 days” (37 per cent); “5-9 days” (35 per cent); “10-19 days” (20 per cent); 20-29 days” (2 per cent); “30 or more days” (4 per cent).
    • In 2013/2014, respondents selected: “Less than 5 days” (43 per cent); “5-9 days” (32 per cent); “10-19 days” (15 per cent); 20-24 days” (2 per cent); “25-29 days” (0 per cent); “30 or more days” (5 per cent).
    • In 2012/2013, respondents selected: “Less than 5 days” (40 per cent); “5-9 days” (31 per cent); “10-19 days” (17 per cent); 20-24 days” (3 per cent); “25-29 days” (0 per cent); “30 or more days” (4 per cent).
    • In 2011/2012, respondents selected: “1-4 days” (32 per cent); “5-9 days” (42 per cent); “10-19 days” (18 per cent); 20-24 days” (3 per cent); “25-29 days” (2 per cent); “30 or more days” (3 per cent).
    • In 2010/2011, respondents selected: “1-4 days” (37 per cent); “5-9 days” (39 per cent); “10-19 days” (17 per cent); 20-24 days” (1 per cent); “25-29 days” (3 per cent); “30 or more days” (3 per cent).
    • In 2009/2010, respondents selected: “1-4 days” (26 per cent); “5-9 days” (29 per cent); “10-19 days” (41 per cent); 20-24 days” (1 per cent); “25-29 days” (0 per cent); “30 or more days” (1 per cent).

    The base size is n=251.

2.7 Timeliness of Resolution from the Agency

Respondents were also asked how long it took from the time they submitted their issue to the Agency to the resolution of the issue, and also what they consider to be an acceptable time to resolve their issue. One in seven (15 per cent) said it took between one and thirty days for their issue to be resolved, and the same proportion (15 per cent) indicated it to be between 31 and 60 days. Tracking reveals a continued decline in terms of the proportion who indicated the Agency resolved their issue in 30 days or less: from 26 per cent in 2012/2013 to 15 per cent currently.

Results further reveal that most respondents (43 per cent) expect the Agency to resolve their issue in 30 days or less.

Timeliness of Resolutionfrom the Agency (1)
Timeliness of Resolution from the Agency (1)
  • Long description

    These two charts have six single tracking horizontal bars, with a bar representing 2014/2015, a bar representing 2013/2014, a bar representing 2012/2013, a bar representing 2011/2012, a bar representing 2010/2011, and a bar representing 2009/2010.

    Respondents were asked: Overall, how long did it take for the Agency to resolve your issue from start to finish?

    • In 2014/2015, respondents selected: “1-30 days” (15 per cent); “31-60 days” (15 per cent); “61-90 days” (8 per cent); “91-120 days” (11 per cent); “121 days or more” (43 per cent).
    • In 2013/2014, respondents selected: “1-30 days” (18 per cent); “31-60 days” (21 per cent); “61-90 days” (18 per cent); “91-120 days” (11 per cent); “121 days or more” (23 per cent).
    • In 2012/2013, respondents selected: “1-30 days” (26 per cent); “31-60 days” (31 per cent); “61-90 days” (10 per cent); “91-120 days” (10 per cent); “121 days or more” (15 per cent).
    • In 2011/2012, respondents selected: “1-30 days” (60 per cent); “31-60 days” (19 per cent); “61-90 days” (9 per cent); “91-120 days” (4 per cent); “121 days or more” (8 per cent).
    • In 2010/2011, respondents selected: “1-30 days” (26 per cent); “31-60 days” (18 per cent); “61-90 days” (13 per cent); “91-120 days” (16 per cent); “121 days or more” (28 per cent).
    • In 2009/2010, respondents selected: “1-30 days” (22 per cent); “31-60 days” (22 per cent); “61-90 days” (21 per cent); “91-120 days” (14 per cent); “121 days or more” (17 per cent).

    The base size is n=251.

Timeliness of Resolutionfrom the Agency (2)
Timeliness of Resolution from the Agency (2)
  • Long description

    These two charts have six single tracking horizontal bars, with a bar representing 2014/2015, a bar representing 2013/2014, a bar representing 2012/2013, a bar representing 2011/2012, a bar representing 2010/2011, and a bar representing 2009/2010.

    Respondents were also asked: What would be an acceptable number of days, from start to finish, for the Agency to resolve your issue

    • In 2014/2015, respondents selected: “1-30 days” (43 per cent); “31-60 days” (34 per cent); “61-90 days” (12 per cent); “91-120 days” (4 per cent); “121 days or more” (2 per cent).
    • In 2013/2014, respondents selected: “1-30 days” (43 per cent); “31-60 days” (32 per cent); “61-90 days” (13 per cent); “91-120 days” (2 per cent); “121 days or more” (3 per cent).
    • In 2012/2013, respondents selected: “1-30 days” (53 per cent); “31-60 days” (28 per cent); “61-90 days” (8 per cent); “91-120 days” (2 per cent); “121 days or more” (2 per cent).
    • In 2011/2012, respondents selected: “1-30 days” (72 per cent); “31-60 days” (17 per cent); “61-90 days” (8 per cent); “91-120 days” (2 per cent); “121 days or more” (2 per cent).
    • In 2010/2011, respondents selected: “1-30 days” (38 per cent); “31-60 days” (28 per cent); “61-90 days” (24 per cent); “91-120 days” (8 per cent); “121 days or more” (2 per cent).
    • In 2009/2010, respondents selected: “1-30 days” (38 per cent); “31-60 days” (35 per cent); “61-90 days” (14 per cent); “91-120 days” (11 per cent); “121 days or more” (2 per cent).

    The base size is n=251.

2.8 Importance of Attributes of Agency Service

Clients were asked to rate the importance of various aspects of service from the Agency on a scale of one to five, where one means not at all important, and five means very important. Subsequently, they were asked to indicate their level of satisfaction with those aspects of service on a five-point scale, where one means very dissatisfied and five means very satisfied.

Results reveal that all of the aspects of service examined are seen as important by a majority of clients, although the knowledge and competence of staff and the accuracy of the information provided are seen as particularly important (77 per cent and 76 per cent of respondents, respectively, feel these aspects are very important). Impartiality of staff, helpfulness of staff, and being provided with information that is easy to understand are also seen as highly important. The time it takes to resolve the matter (53 per cent), and the time it takes to acknowledge their issue (49 per cent) are seen as relatively less important issues (although most clients still see these as important service aspects).

Importance of Attributes ofAgency Service
Importance of Attributes of Agency Service
  • Long description

    In terms of attributes of service, respondents place the most importance on the knowledge and competence of Agency staff, as well as the accuracy of the information they receive.

    This chart has 10 horizontal stacked bars for 2014/2015, with a column total importance for 2014/2015, a column total importance for 2013/2014, a column total importance for 2012/2013 and a column total importance for 2011/2012 on the side. On a scale of 4-5 points where 4 means somewhat important and 5 means very important.

    Respondents were asked to: How important do you view each of the following aspects of service from the Agency? Respondents selected:

    • "Knowledge and competence of staff": very important (77 per cent), somewhat important (16 per cent); total importance (93 per cent); total importance in 2013/2014 (95 per cent); total importance in 2012/2013 (97 per cent); total importance in 2011/2012 (95 per cent);
    • "The accuracy of any information provided": very important (76 per cent), somewhat important (16 per cent); total importance (92 per cent); total importance in 2013/2014 (94 per cent); total importance in 2012/2013 (96 per cent); total importance in 2011/2012 (95 per cent);
    • "Impartiality of staff": very important (68 per cent), somewhat important (20 per cent); total importance (88 per cent); total importance in 2013/2014 (88 per cent); total importance in 2012/2013 (89 per cent); total importance in 2011/2012 (91 per cent);
    • "The Agency provides me with information that is clear and easy to understand": very important (67 per cent), somewhat important (22 per cent); total importance (89 per cent); total importance in 2013/2014 (93 per cent); total importance in 2012/2013 (95 per cent); total importance in 2011/2012 (93 per cent);
    • "Helpfulness of staff": very important (66 per cent), somewhat important (24 per cent); total importance (90 per cent); total importance in 2013/2014 (93 per cent); total importance in 2012/2013 (95 per cent); total importance in 2011/2012 (94 per cent);
    • "Staff are easy to deal with": very important (63 per cent), somewhat important (24 per cent); total importance (87 per cent); total importance in 2013/2014 (94 per cent); total importance in 2012/2013 (93 per cent); total importance in 2011/2012 (93 per cent);
    • "Courtesy of staff": very important (61 per cent), somewhat important (25 per cent); total importance (86 per cent); total importance in 2013/2014 (92 per cent); total importance in 2012/2013 (93 per cent); total importance in 2011/2012 (94 per cent);
    •  "Staff are easily accessible": very important (56 per cent), somewhat important (29 per cent); total importance (85 per cent); total importance in 2013/2014 (91 per cent); total importance in 2012/2013 (90 per cent); total importance in 2011/2012 (92 per cent);
    • "The time it takes to resolve the matter": very important (53 per cent), somewhat important (26 per cent); total importance (79 per cent); total importance in 2013/2014 (87 per cent); total importance in 2012/2013 (87 per cent); total importance in 2011/2012 (86 per cent); and
    • "The time it takes to acknowledge my issue"*: very important (49 per cent), somewhat important (31 per cent); total importance (80 per cent); total importance in 2013/2014 (87 per cent); total importance in 2012/2013 (85 per cent); total importance in 2011/2012 (90 per cent).

    The base size is n=288.

    The image includes a note that "The time it takes to acknowledge my issue" was not asked of INSP, MED or NTD if the matter brought by other party.

2.9 Satisfaction with Attributes of Agency ServiceFootnote 2

Respondents were also asked to rate their satisfaction with these various aspects of service. Results reveal that the majority of clients are at least somewhat satisfied across virtually all of the aspects examined. Respondents are most satisfied with the courtesy of staff (81 per cent very or somewhat satisfied), and the ease of dealing with staff (78 per cent very or somewhat satisfied). About three in four are satisfied with the knowledge and competence of staff (76 per cent), the helpfulness of staff (75 per cent), and staff accessibility (72 per cent). Seven in ten are satisfied with the accuracy of information (70 per cent) and the clarity of information provided (68 per cent), while two in three are satisfied with the impartiality of staff (64 per cent). The time required to receive acknowledgment (52 per cent) and the time it took to resolve the matter (48 per cent) garnered the lowest levels of satisfaction.

Tracking reveals a slight decline over the past year in satisfaction levels across many of the aspects examined (although part of the decline is due to a higher proportion of adjudication cases). However, satisfaction with the time it took to acknowledge the client's issue has declined significantly over the past year (down 12 per cent), and this decline goes beyond the impact of adjudication respondents.

Satisfaction with Attributes of Agency Service
Satisfaction with Attributes of Agency Service
  • Long description

    In terms of attributes of service, respondents are broadly satisfied; once again, courtesy of staff is a high point, and time to resolve the issue is area of lowest satisfaction.

    This chart has 10 horizontal stacked bars, with a column total importance for 2014/2015, a column total importance for 2013/2014, a column total satisfaction for 2012/2013, a column total satisfaction for 2011/2012; a column total satisfaction for 2010/2011; and a column total satisfaction for 2009/2010 on the side. On a scale of 4-5 points where 4 means somewhat satisfied and 5 means very satisfied.

    Respondents were asked: What is your level of satisfaction with the following aspects of service from the Agency? Respondents selected:

    • "Courtesy of staff": very satisfied (59 per cent); somewhat satisfied (22 per cent); total satisfaction (81 per cent); total satisfaction in 2013/2014 (84 per cent); total satisfaction in 2012/2013 (87 per cent); total satisfaction in 2011/2012 (92 per cent); total satisfaction in 2010/2011 (79 per cent); and total satisfaction in 2009/2010 (93 per cent).
    • "Staff were easy to deal with": very satisfied (57 per cent); somewhat satisfied (21 per cent); total satisfaction (78 per cent); total satisfaction in 2013/2014 (81 per cent); total satisfaction in 2012/2013 (83 per cent); total satisfaction in 2011/2012 (89 per cent); total satisfaction for 2010/2011 (69 per cent); and total satisfaction in 2009/2010 (85 per cent).
    • "Helpfulness of staff": very satisfied (54 per cent); somewhat satisfied (21 per cent); total satisfaction (75 per cent); total satisfaction in 2013/2014 (75 per cent); total satisfaction in 2012/2013 (80 per cent); total satisfaction in 2011/2012 (86 per cent); total satisfaction for 2010/2011 (68 per cent); and total satisfaction in 2009/2010 (81 per cent).
    • "Knowledge and competence of staff": very satisfied (50 per cent); somewhat satisfied (26 per cent); total satisfaction (76 per cent); total satisfaction in 2013/2014 (79 per cent); total satisfaction in 2012/2013 (78 per cent); total satisfaction in 2011/2012 (87 per cent); total satisfaction for 2010/2011 (68 per cent); and total satisfaction in 2009/2010 (79 per cent).
    • "Staff were easily accessible": very satisfied (48 per cent); somewhat satisfied (24 per cent); total satisfaction (72 per cent); total satisfaction in 2013/2014 (73 per cent); total satisfaction in 2012/2013 (75 per cent); total satisfaction in 2011/2012 (86 per cent); total satisfaction for 2010/2011 (66 per cent); and total satisfaction in 2009/2010 (85 per cent).
    • "The accuracy of any information provided": very satisfied (47 per cent); somewhat satisfied (23 per cent); total satisfaction (70 per cent); total satisfaction in 2013/2014 (73 per cent); total satisfaction in 2012/2013 (79 per cent); total satisfaction in 2011/2012 (84 per cent); total satisfaction for 2010/2011 (65 per cent); and total satisfaction in 2009/2010 (81 per cent).
    • "The Agency provided me with information that as clear and easy to understand": very satisfied (45 per cent); somewhat satisfied (23 per cent); total satisfaction (68 per cent); total satisfaction in 2013/2014 (74 per cent); total satisfaction in 2012/2013 (74 per cent); total satisfaction in 2011/2012 (82 per cent); total satisfaction for 2010/2011 (67 per cent); and total satisfaction in 2009/2010 (76 per cent).
    • "Impartiality of staff": very satisfied (44 per cent); somewhat satisfied (20 per cent); total satisfaction (64 per cent); total satisfaction in 2013/2014 (68 per cent); total satisfaction in 2012/2013 (74 per cent); total satisfaction in 2011/2012 (84 per cent); total satisfaction for 2010/2011 (65 per cent); and total satisfaction in 2009/2010 (76 per cent).
    • "The time it took to acknowledge my issue"*: very satisfied (34 per cent); somewhat satisfied (18 per cent); total satisfaction (52 per cent); total satisfaction in 2013/2014 (64 per cent); total satisfaction in 2012/2013 (63 per cent); total satisfaction in 2011/2012 (77 per cent); total satisfaction for 2010/2011 (60 per cent); and total satisfaction in 2009/2010 (78 per cent).
    • "The time it took to resolve the matter": very satisfied (30 per cent); somewhat satisfied (18 per cent); total satisfaction (53 per cent); total satisfaction in 2013/2014 (53 per cent); total satisfaction in 2012/2013 (63 per cent); total satisfaction in 2011/2012 (71 per cent); total satisfaction for 2010/2011 (48 per cent); and total satisfaction in 2009/2010 (63 per cent).

    The base size is n=288.

    The image includes a first note that "the time it takes to acknowledge my issue" was not asked of INSP, MED or NTD if matter brought by the other party.

The outcome has an impact on satisfaction with various aspects of service. For example:

  • Among those who say that their objectives were met, 77 per cent report satisfaction with the time it took to acknowledge their issue, 43 per cent report satisfaction with this issue among those whose objectives were met to an acceptable degree, and only 29 per cent report satisfaction with the time it took to acknowledge their issue among those who say their objectives were met only a bit or not at all.
  • Among those who say that their objectives were met, 72 per cent report satisfaction with the time it took to resolve their issue, 50 per cent report satisfaction with this issue among those whose objectives were met to an acceptable degree, and only 15 per cent report satisfaction with time it took to resolve their issue among those who say their objectives were met only a bit or not at all.
  • Among those who say that their objectives were met, 93 per cent report satisfaction with the clarity of information provided by the Agency, 71 per cent report satisfaction with this issue among those whose objectives were met to an acceptable degree, and only 32 per cent report satisfaction with the clarity of information among those who say their objectives were met only a bit or not at all.  
  • Among those who say that their objectives were met, 92 per cent report satisfaction with the impartiality of staff, 78 per cent report satisfaction with this issue among those whose objectives were met to an acceptable degree, and only 21 per cent report satisfaction with impartiality of staff among those who say their objectives were met only a bit or not at all.

2.10 Gap Analysis

As reported earlier, respondents were asked to rate the importance of various attributes of service, and then asked to rate their satisfaction in each of these areas. We conducted a gap analysis for each of these service attributes to help identify the areas most in need of attention. In conducting this analysis, we subtracted the proportion who indicated very satisfied across each of the attributes from the proportion who indicated the attribute was very important. The resulting number reflects areas where gaps exist between the priority of the issue relative to the satisfaction with this issue.

Results from this analysis reveal that gaps are most pronounced in terms of accuracy of information, the knowledge and competence of staff, and the impartiality of staff.

Gap Analysis Difference Between Satisfaction and Importance
Gap Analysis Difference Between Satisfaction and Importance
  • Long description

    This chart has 10 single horizontal bars, and portrays a gap analysis of each service attribute, subtracting the proportion who indicated very satisfied across each of the attributes from the proportion who indicated the attribute was very important. The resulting number reflects areas where gaps exist between the priority of the issue relative to the satisfaction with this issue.

    Gaps are largest in:

    • "Accuracy of any information provided" (minus 29 per cent);
    • "Knowledge and competence of staff" (minus 27 per cent);
    • "Impartiality of staff" (minus 24 per cent);
    • "The time it took to resolve the matter" (minus 23 per cent);
    • "Agency provided me with information that is clear/easy to understand" (minus 22 cent);
    • "Time it took to acknowledge my issue" (minus 15 per cent);
    • "Helpfulness of staff" (minus 12 per cent);
    • "Staff were easily accessible" (minus 8 per cent);
    • "Staff were easy to deal with" (minus 6 per cent); and
    • "Courtesy of staff" (minus 2 per cent).

    The base size is n=288.

2.11 Importance of Aspects of Service from the Agency

Respondents were also asked to indicate how important they found several other aspects of their experience with service from the Agency on a scale of one to five, where one means not at all important, and five means very important. Subsequently, they were asked whether or not they agreed with a number of statements about these aspects of service, using a five-point scale, where one is strongly disagree and five is strongly agree.

Results reveal that all aspects are seen as at least somewhat important by roughly eight in ten or more clients. Focusing on the "very important" responses only, results reveal that clients place the most importance on the fairness of treatment they receive (78 per cent see this as very important), and being informed of everything they need to do (75 per cent rated this as very important). Seven in ten also feel that being told what the Agency can and cannot do (70 per cent), and that all their questions are answered (69 per cent) are very important. Having a variety of means to contact Agency staff is seen as relatively less important (only 46 per cent rate this as very important).

Importance of Aspects of Servicefrom the Agency
Importance of Aspects of Service from the Agency
  • Long description

    This chart has nine horizontal stacked bars, with a column total importance for 2014/2015, a column total importance for 2013/2014, a column total importance for 2012/2013, and a column total importance for 2011/2012 on the side. On a scale of 4-5 points where 4 means somewhat important and 5 means very important.

    Respondents were asked: How important do you consider each of the following aspects of service from the Agency? Respondents selected:

    • "Fairness of treatment": very important (78 per cent); somewhat important (13 per cent); total importance (91 per cent), total importance for 2013/2014 (93 per cent), for 2012/2013 (95 per cent), for 2011/2012 (95 per cent);
    • "That I am informed of everything that I have to do in order for the matter to be dealt with by the Agency": very important (75 per cent); somewhat important (18 per cent); total importance (93 per cent), total importance for 2013/2014 (93 per cent), for 2012/2013 (94 per cent), for 2011/2012 (95 per cent);
    • "Being told what the Agency can and cannot do in dealing with your matter": very important (70 per cent); somewhat important (21 per cent); total importance (91 per cent), total importance for 2013/2014 (94 per cent), for 2012/2013 (92 per cent), for 2011/2012 (92 per cent);
    • "That all your questions are answered": very important (69 per cent); somewhat important (23 per cent); total importance (92 per cent), total importance for 2013/2014 (94 per cent), for 2012/2013 (96 per cent), for 2011/2012 (94 per cent);
    • "Contact you have with the Agency is in the official language of my choice": very important (64 per cent); somewhat important (17 per cent); total importance (81 per cent), total importance for 2013/2014 (80 per cent), for 2012/2013 (80 per cent), for 2011/2012 (77 per cent);
    • "That the Agency's forms are easy to complete": very important (59 per cent); somewhat important (28 per cent); total importance (87 per cent), total importance for 2013/2014 (86 per cent), for 2012/2013 (90 per cent), for 2011/2012 (85 per cent);
    • "That I gain a good understanding of the mandate and jurisdiction of the Agency": very important (57 per cent); somewhat important (25 per cent); total importance (82 per cent), total importance for 2013/2014 (87 per cent), for 2012/2013 (88 per cent), for 2011/2012 (86 per cent);
    • "Quick response time from staff": very important (56 per cent); somewhat important (32 per cent); total importance (88 per cent), total importance for 2013/2014 (91 per cent), for 2012/2013 (92 per cent), for 2011/2012 (88 per cent); and
    • "Having a variety of means to contact Agency staff": very important (46 per cent); somewhat important (29 per cent); total importance (75 per cent), total importance for 2013/2014 (78 per cent), for 2012/2013 (78 per cent), for 2011/2012 (76 per cent).

    The base is n=288.

2.12 Assessment of Various Aspects of ServiceFootnote 3

Clients were also asked whether or not they agreed with a number of statements about these same aspects of service, using a scale of one to five, where one is strongly disagree and five is strongly agree.Footnote 4 Across all of the statements, at least six in ten respondents strongly or somewhat agreed (i.e., expressed satisfaction). Respondents most often agree that the contact they had with the Agency was in the official language of their choice (91 per cent agree with this statement). Three in four agree that they were informed of everything they had to do in order for their matter to be dealt with by the Agency (77 per cent), and the Agency let them know what they could do in dealing with their matter (76 per cent). Two in three felt that all their questions were answered (69 per cent), that they were treated fairly (68 per cent), that they gained a good understanding of the mandate of the Agency (67 per cent), and that Agency forms were easy to complete (69 per cent). Six in ten agreed that staff responded quickly (63 per cent), and that they were offered a variety of means of contacting Agency staff (62 per cent).

Tracking reveals a slight decline in agreement with some of these statements over the past year. However, as with other findings, some of the decline is a result of the higher proportion of adjudication cases.

Assessment of VariousAspects of Service
Assessment of Various Aspects of Service
  • Long description

    This chart has nine horizontal stacked bars with a column total agreement for 2014/2015, a column total agreement for 2013/2014; a column total agreement for 2012/2013; a column total agreement for 2011/2012; a column total agreement for 2010/2011; and a column total agreement for 2009/2010 on the side. On a scale of 4-5 points where 4 means somewhat agree and 5 means strongly agree.

    Respondents were asked: Do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements about aspects of service from the Agency? Respondents selected:

    • "The contact I had with the Agency was in the official language of my choice": strongly agree (75 per cent); somewhat agree (16 per cent); total agreement (91 per cent); total agreement in 2013/2014 (92 per cent); total agreement in 2012/2013 (86 per cent); total agreement in 2011/2012 (95 per cent); in 2010/2011 (92 per cent); and for 2009/2010 (96 per cent).
    • "I was informed of everything I had to do in order for the matter to be dealt with by the Agency": strongly agree (51 per cent); somewhat agree (26 per cent); total agreement (77 per cent); total agreement in 2013/2014 (80 per cent); total agreement in 2012/2013 (81 per cent); total agreement in 2011/2012 (83 per cent); in 2010/2011 (75 per cent); and for 2009/2010 (84 per cent).
    • "The Agency let me know what they could do in dealing with the matter": strongly agree (50 per cent); somewhat agree (26 per cent); total agreement (76 per cent); total agreement in 2013/2014 (78 per cent); total agreement in 2012/2013 (73 per cent); total agreement in 2011/2012 (81 per cent); in 2010/2011 (76 per cent); and for 2009/2010 (82 per cent).
    • "I was treated fairly": strongly agree (48 per cent); somewhat agree (20 per cent); total agreement (68 per cent); total agreement in 2013/2014 (73 per cent); total agreement in 2012/2013 (76 per cent); total agreement in 2011/2012 (85 per cent); in 2010/2011 (69 per cent); and for 2009/2010 (85 per cent).
    • "I felt that all my questions were answered": strongly agree (48 per cent); somewhat agree (21 per cent); total agreement (69 per cent); total agreement in 2013/2014 (72 per cent); total agreement in 2012/2013 (74 per cent); total agreement in 2011/2012 (77 per cent); no per cent in 2010/2011 and 2009/2010.
    • "Staff responded quickly": strongly agree (40 per cent); somewhat agree (23 per cent); total agreement (63 per cent); total agreement in 2013/2014 (66 per cent); total agreement in 2012/2013 (75 per cent); total agreement in 2011/2012 (82 per cent); in 2010/2011 (64 per cent); and for 2009/2010 (87 per cent).
    • "I was offered a variety of means of contacting Agency staff": strongly agree (39 per cent); somewhat agree (23 per cent); total agreement (62 per cent); total agreement in 2013/2014 (65 per cent); total agreement in 2012/2013 (73 per cent); total agreement in 2011/2012 (77 per cent); in 2010/2011 (74 per cent); and for 2009/2010 (86 per cent).
    • "I gained a good understanding of the mandate and jurisdiction of the Agency": strongly agree (38 per cent); somewhat agree (29 per cent); total agreement (67 per cent); total agreement in 2013/2014 (72 per cent); total agreement in 2012/2013 (70 per cent); total agreement in 2011/2012 (78 per cent); no per cent in 2010/2011 and 2009/2010.
    • "The Agency's forms were easy to complete": strongly agree (35 per cent); somewhat agree (34 per cent); total agreement (69 per cent); total agreement in 2013/2014 (72 per cent); total agreement in 2012/2013 (69 per cent); total agreement in 2011/2012 (80 per cent); in 2010/2011 (76 per cent); and for 2009/2010 (80 per cent).

    The base is n=288.

The outcome has an impact on the perceived fairness of treatment:

  • Among those who say that their objectives were met, 97 per cent agree that they were treated fairly, 88 per cent report satisfaction with this issue among those whose objectives were met to an acceptable degree, and only 24 per cent report satisfaction with the fairness of treatment among those who say their objectives were met only a bit or not at all.

2.13 Gap Analysis

As with the previous service attributes questions, we conducted a gap analysis for these service aspects to help identify the areas most in need of attention. Again, we subtracted the proportion who indicated very satisfied across each of the aspects from the proportion who indicated the aspect was very important. The resulting number reflects areas where gaps exist between the priority of the issue relative to the satisfaction with this issue.

Results from this analysis reveal that gaps are most pronounced in terms of fairness of treatment, being informed of everything they had to do, and ease of completing Agency forms, suggesting that these are the areas most in need of attention from the Agency.

Gap Analysis Difference Between Satisfaction and Importance
Gap Analysis Difference Between Satisfaction and Importance
  • Long description

    This chart has nine single horizontal bars, and portrays a gap analysis of each service attribute, subtracting the proportion who indicated very satisfied across each of the attributes from the proportion who indicated the attribute was very important. The resulting number reflects areas where gaps exist between the priority of the issue relative to the satisfaction with this issue.

    Gaps are largest in:

    • "I was treated fairly" (minus 30 per cent);
    • "I was informed of everything I had to do in order for the matter to be dealt with by the Agency" (minus 24 per cent);
    • "Agency's forms were easy to complete" (minus 24 per cent);
    • "I felt that all my questions were answered" (minus 21 per cent);
    • "Agency let me know what they could do in dealing with my matter" (minus 20 per cent);
    • "Gained a good understanding of mandate/jurisdiction of Agency" (minus 19 per cent);
    • "Staff responded quickly" (minus 16 per cent);
    • "I was offered a variety of means of contacting Agency staff" (minus 7 per cent);
    • "Contact I had with the Agency was in official language of my choice" (11 per cent);

    The base size is n=288.

2.14 Views on Agency ProcessFootnote 5

Respondents were asked whether or not they agreed with a number of statements about Agency processes, using a scale of one to five, where one is strongly disagree and five is strongly agree.

Three in four respondents agree that the Agency made clear the information required for submission (76 per cent), and seven in ten felt that the process was carried out in a professional manner (71 per cent). About two in three agree the Agency's process was clearly explained to them (68 per cent), and that they had enough opportunity to present their case (65 per cent). Six in ten felt that the final outcome was easy to understand (61 per cent). Only about half, however, feel that the process was impartial (53 per cent), or that they had enough opportunity to respond to the other party's point of view (47 per cent).

Comparing these results to those found last year reveals a decrease in agreement across many of the areas examined, however, the decline is partly due to the higher proportion of adjudication cases.

Views on Agency Process
Views on Agency Process
  • Long description

    This chart has seven horizontal stacked bars, with a total agreement (agree 4-5) column for 2013/2014, 2012/2013, 2011/2012, 2010/2011, and 2009/2010 on the side. On a scale of 5 points where 1-2 means disagree, 3 means neither, and 4-5 means agree.

    Respondents were asked: Please rate the extent to which you agree or disagree with each of the following statements about this process. Respondents selected:

    • "The Agency made it clear what information I was required to submit": agree (76 per cent); neither (11 per cent); disagree (13 per cent); total agreement in 2013/2014 (82 per cent); total agreement in 2012/2013 (81 per cent); total agreement in 2011/2012 (84 per cent); in 2010/2011 (73 per cent); and for 2009/2010 (71 per cent).
    • "The process was conducted in a professional manner": agree (71 per cent); neither (11 per cent); disagree (17 per cent); total agreement in 2013/2014 (73 per cent); total agreement in 2012/2013 (79 per cent); total agreement in 2011/2012 (84 per cent); in 2010/2011 (71 per cent); and for 2009/2010 (81 per cent).
    • "The Agency's process was clearly explained to me": agree (68 per cent); neither (14 per cent); disagree (18 per cent); total agreement in 2013/2014 (68 per cent); total agreement in 2012/2013 (74 per cent); total agreement in 2011/2012 (81 per cent); in 2010/2011 (70 per cent); and for 2009/2010 (75 per cent).
    • "I had enough of an opportunity to present my case": agree (65 per cent); neither (12 per cent); disagree (22 per cent); total agreement in 2013/2014 (66 per cent); total agreement in 2012/2013 (71 per cent); total agreement in 2011/2012 (77 per cent); in 2010/2011 (69 per cent); and for 2009/2010 (71 per cent).
    • "Final outcome was clear and easy to understand": agree (61 per cent); neither (11 per cent); disagree (28 per cent); total agreement in 2013/2014 (67 per cent); total agreement in 2012/2013 (67 per cent); total agreement in 2011/2012 (76 per cent); in 2010/2011 (58 per cent); and for 2009/2010 (68 per cent).
    • "The process followed was impartial": agree (53 per cent); neither (17 per cent); disagree (30 per cent); total agreement in 2013/2014 (52 per cent); total agreement in 2012/2013 (58 per cent); total agreement in 2011/2012 (73 per cent); in 2010/2011 (66 per cent); and for 2009/2010 (67 per cent).
    • "Had enough of an opportunity to respond to the other party's view": agree (47 per cent); neither (23 per cent); disagree (30 per cent); total agreement in 2013/2014 (52 per cent); total agreement in 2012/2013 (57 per cent); total agreement in 2011/2012 (63 per cent); in 2010/2011 (67 per cent); and for 2009/2010 (67 per cent).

    The base size is n=235.

    Note: Asked only of FAC, ADJ and NTD.

The outcome has an impact on the perceived impartiality of the process:

  • Among those who say that their objectives were met, 88 per cent report satisfaction with the impartiality of the process, 71 per cent report satisfaction with this issue among those whose objectives were met to an acceptable degree, and only 16 per cent report satisfaction with the impartiality of the process among those who say their objectives were met only a bit or not at all.

2.15 The Agency's Website

Clients were also asked a number of questions about the Agency's website. Respondents were asked if they had ever visited the Agency's website. Over nine in ten (93 per cent) indicate that they have visited the Agency's website, identical to last year's results.

Among those who visited this website, one in three (37 per cent) said they had visited the Agency's website within the past three months, and roughly the same proportion (35 per cent) visited the website between three and six months ago, again identical to last year's findings.

The Agency's Website
The Agency's Website
  • Long description

    Nine in ten indicate that they have visited the Agency's website, four in ten within the last three months.

    These two charts have two and five tracking horizontal bars, each chart with a bar for 2014/2015, 2013/2014, 2012/2013 and 2011/2012.

    LEFT CHART: Respondents were asked: Have you ever visited the Agency's website? Respondents selected:

    • "Yes" (93 per cent); 93 per cent for 2013/2014; 95 per cent for 2012/2013; 89 per cent for 2011/2012;
    • "No" (6 per cent); 6 per cent for 2013/2014; 5 per cent for 2012/2013; 11 per cent for 2011/2012.

    The base size is n=288.

    RIGHT CHART: Respondents who have visited the Agency's website were asked: [IF YES] How recently did you visit the Agency's website?

    Respondents selected:

    • "Within the past three months" (37 per cent); 37 per cent for 2013/2014; 49 per cent for 2012/2013; 46 per cent for 2011/2012;
    • "Between three and six months ago" (35 per cent); 35 per cent for 2013/2014; 32 per cent for 2012/2013; 31 per cent for 2011/2012;
    • "Between six months and a year ago" (25 per cent); 22 per cent for 2013/2014; 13 per cent for 2012/2013; 16 per cent for 2011/2012;
    • "More than a year ago" (3 per cent); 4 per cent for 2013/2014; 3 per cent for 2012/2013; 4 per cent for 2011/2012;
    • "Don't know/not sure" (1 per cent); 2 per cent for 2013/2014; 2 per cent for 2012/2013; 3 per cent for 2011/2012.

    The base size is n=268.

2.16 Satisfaction with the Agency's Website

Those who visited the Agency's website were also asked about their satisfaction with the website. Roughly six in ten indicate that the information on the website was easy to understand (57 per cent - down two percentage points since 2013/2014), and that the website had the information they were looking for (57 per cent - down four percentage points since 2013/2014). Just over half indicated that it was easy to find information they needed on the website (53 per cent - down seven percentage points over the past year).

Satisfaction with theAgency's Website (1)
Satisfaction with the Agency's Website (1)
  • Long description

    This chart has three horizontal stacked bars, each with a column representing total satisfaction (4-5) for 2013/2014, 2012/2013, 2011/2012, 2010/2011, and 2009/2010 on the side. On a scale of 5 points where 1-2 means dissatisfied, 3 means neither, and 4-5 means satisfied.

    Respondents who have visited the Agency's website were asked: Please indicate the response that best describes your level of satisfaction with the following aspects of service from the Agency's website. Respondents selected:

    • "The information on the website was easy to understand" for 2014/2015, satisfied (57 per cent), neither (27 per cent), dissatisfied (14 per cent); for 2013/2014 satisfied (59 per cent); for 2012/2013 satisfied (61 per cent); for 2011/2012, satisfied (70 per cent); for 2010/2011, satisfied (57 per cent); and for 2009/2010, satisfied (75 per cent).
    • "The Agency's website had the information I was looking for" for 2014/2015, satisfied (57 per cent), neither (25 per cent), dissatisfied (15 per cent); for 2013/2014 satisfied (61 per cent); for 2012/2013, satisfied (61 per cent); for 2011/2012, satisfied (70 per cent); for 2010/2011, satisfied (63 per cent); and for 2009/2010, satisfied (73 per cent);
    • "It was easy to find information I needed on the website" for 2013/2014, satisfied (53 per cent), neither (26 per cent), dissatisfied (18 per cent); for 2013/2014 satisfied (60 per cent); for 2012/2013, satisfied (54 per cent); for 2011/2012, satisfied (65 per cent); for 2010/2011, satisfied (52 per cent); and for 2009/2010, satisfied (72 per cent);

    The base size is n=268.

The survey also included a series of other questions examining satisfaction with the Agency's website. Results reveal that six in ten feel the Agency's website is accessible (64 per cent - down four percentage points over the past year), and that the information on the website is useful (63 per cent - down two percentage points over the past year). Only about half feel that the Agency's website is easy to navigate (52 per cent, and this is down nine percentage points since last year).

This difficulties with ease of navigation and usefulness may in part be explained by multiple, ongoing changes to the website mandated by the Government of Canada's Web Renewal Initiative.

Satisfaction with theAgency's Website (2)
Satisfaction with the Agency's Website (2)
  • Long description

    This chart has three horizontal stacked bars, each with a column representing total satisfaction (4-5) for 2013/2014 on the side. On a scale of 5 points where 1-2 means dissatisfied, 3 means neither, and 4-5 means satisfied.

    Respondents who have visited the Agency's website were asked: Please indicate the response that best describes your level of satisfaction with the following aspects of service from the Agency's website. Respondents selected:

    • "The Agency's website was accessible" for 2014/2015, satisfied (64 per cent), neither (19 per cent), dissatisfied (8 per cent); for 2013/2014 satisfied (68 per cent).
    • "The information was useful" for 2014/2015, satisfied (63 per cent), neither (23 per cent), dissatisfied (12 per cent); for 2013/2014 satisfied (65 per cent).
    • "The Agency's website was easy to navigate" for 2014/2015, satisfied (52 per cent), neither (28 per cent), dissatisfied (16 per cent); for 2013/2014 satisfied (61 per cent).

    The base size is n=268.

2.17 Interacting with the Agency

Clients were asked how they became aware of the Agency. Six in ten (61 per cent) mention a web search as their source of awareness, while about one in ten say that they already knew of the Agency (12 per cent), or that they heard about the Agency from a friend/family member (nine per cent).

Tracking reveals that the proportion of respondents who indicated they became aware of the Agency through a web search is up significantly over the past year.

Interacting with the Agency
Interacting with the Agency
  • Long description

    Nearly two in five respondents learned about the Agency by searching the Web.

    This chart has 12 single horizontal bars with a column for 2013/2013, 2012/2013, and 2011/2012 on the side.

    Respondents were asked: How did you become aware of the Canadian Transportation Agency? [Open] Respondents selected:

    • Web search (61 per cent); for 2013/2014 (46 per cent); for 2012/2013 (40 per cent); for 2011/2012 (39 per cent);
    • Already knew about Agency (12 per cent); for 2013/2014 (12 per cent); for 2012/2013 (27 per cent); for 2011/2012 (24 per cent);
    • Friend/family member (9 per cent); for 2013/2014 (15 per cent); for 2012/2013 (5 per cent); for 2011/2012 (10 per cent);
    • Social media channels (6 per cent); for 2013/2014 (4 per cent); not mentioned in 2012/2013 and 2011/2012;
    • Another government department (5 per cent); for 2013/2014 (7 per cent); for 2012/2013 (10 per cent); for 2011/2012 (12 per cent);
    • Travel agent (5 per cent); for 2013/2014 (4 per cent); for 2012/2013 (2 per cent); for 2011/2012 (3 per cent);
    • Transportation service provider (5 per cent); for 2013/2014 (7 per cent); for 2012/2013 (13 per cent); for 2011/2012 (12 per cent);
    • Have made complaint(s) to Agency before (4 per cent); for 2013/2014 (1 per cent); for 2012/2013 (3 per cent); for 2011/2012 (1 per cent);
    • Had previous contact with the Agency (2 per cent); for 2013/2014 (4 per cent); for 2012/2013 (14 per cent); for 2011/2012 (13 per cent);
    • 1-800 OCANADA/ government (2 per cent); for 2013/2014 (1 per cent); for 2012/2013 (1 per cent); for 2011/2012 (3 per cent);
    • An association (1 per cent); for 2013/2014 (1 per cent); for 2012/2013 (1 per cent); for 2011/2012 (3 per cent); and
    • Other (4 per cent); for 2012/2013 (9 per cent); for 2013/2014 (46 per cent); for 2011/2012 (3 per cent).

    The base size is n=242.

2.18 Source of Information about the Agency

Respondents were also asked which method they used to get information about the Agency during the course of their interaction with the Agency. The Agency's website (72 per cent) is identified most often as the method used to obtain information, followed by email (71 per cent).

Tracking reveals that the Agency website has increased significantly as a source of information about the Agency since 2013-14.

Source of Informationabout the Agency
Source of Information about the Agency
  • Long description

    The Agency's website, e-mail, and telephone are most often used to obtain information about the Agency.

    This chart has five single tracking horizontal bars with a bar representing 2014/2015, a bar representing 2013/2014, a bar representing 2012/2013, a bar representing 2011/ 2012, a bar representing 2010/ 2011, and a bar representing 2009/2010 for each category.

    Respondents were asked: In the course of your interaction with the agency, which of the following did you use to get information about the Agency? Respondents selected:

    • In 2014/2015, the Agency's website (72 per cent); e-mail (71 per cent); telephone (41 per cent); regular mail (9 per cent); and fax (3 per cent).
    • In 2013/2014, e-mail (73 per cent); the Agency's website (59 per cent); telephone (40 per cent); regular mail (7 per cent); and fax (4 per cent).
    • In 2012/2013, e-mail (73 per cent); the Agency's website (58 per cent); telephone (46 per cent); regular mail (13 per cent); and fax (5 per cent).
    • In 2011/2012, e-mail (72 per cent); the Agency's website (61 per cent); telephone (57 per cent); regular mail (15 per cent); and fax (8 per cent).
    • In 2010/2011, respondents selected: e-mail (72 per cent); the Agency's website (56 per cent); telephone (63 per cent); regular mail (18 per cent); and fax (9 per cent).
    • In 2009/2010, respondents selected: e-mail (69 per cent); the Agency's website (47 per cent); telephone (54 per cent); regular mail (21 per cent); and fax (12 per cent).

    The base size is n=288.

2.19 Preferred Source of Information About the Agency

Clients were then asked which method they would most prefer to use to get information about the Agency. Four in ten indicated the Agency website (44 per cent, up six per cent since 2013/2014), and email (42 per cent, down eight points since 2013/2014). Only about one in ten (nine per cent) indicate a preference for telephone.

Preferred Source of Information About the Agency
Preferred Source of Information About the Agency
  • Long description

    Most respondents would prefer to use the Agency's website, followed by e-mail to obtain information about the Agency.

    This chart has four single tracking horizontal bars with a bar representing 2014/2015, a bar representing 2013/2014, a bar representing 2012/2013, and a bar representing 2011/ 2012 for each category.

    Respondents were asked: Which one of the following ways would you most prefer to use in order to get information about Agency? Respondents selected:

    • The Agency's website (44 per cent); for 2013/2014 (38 per cent); for 2012/2013 (41 per cent); for 2011/2012 (31 per cent);
    • E-mail (42 per cent); for 2013/2014 (50 per cent); for 2012/2013 (42 per cent); for 2011/2012 (46 per cent);
    • Telephone (9 per cent); for 2013/2014 (15 per cent); for 2012/2013 (15 per cent); for 2011/2012 (18 per cent);
    • Regular mail (1 per cent); for 2013/2014 (2 per cent); for 2012/2013 (2 per cent); for 2011/2012 (3 per cent).

    The base size is n=288.

2.20 Additional comments - Satisfaction with Quality of Service from Agency

When asked to provide additional comments about the Agency and/or its services, those satisfied with the service they received mention excellent service (in general) most often (26 per cent, down 1 per cent since last year). Half of satisfied respondents (52 per cent) had no additional comments.

Additional comments - Satisfaction with Quality  of Service from Agency
Additional comments - Satisfaction with Quality of Service from Agency
  • Long description

    This chart has four single horizontal bars.

    Respondents were asked: Do you have additional comments about the Agency and/or its services? [Open] It displays results among those reporting satisfaction with the Agency. Respondents selected:

    • "Excellent service" (26 per cent);
    • "Should have more authority/jurisdiction" (7 per cent);
    • "Should be faster/reduce backlog" (5 per cent); and
    • "Don't know/no response" (52 per cent).

    The base size is n=190.

2.21 Additional comments - Dissatisfaction with Quality of Service from Agency

Among those who report overall dissatisfaction with the Agency's service, many felt that nothing was done to address their issue (19 per cent, up from 14 per cent last year), that the Agency should have more authority/jurisdiction (17 per cent), or that the Agency is biased (14 per cent, down 10 per cent since last year). Over one in three dissatisfied respondents (34 per cent) provided no comment.

Additional comments - Dissatisfaction with  Quality of Service from Agency
Additional comments - Dissatisfaction with Quality of Service from Agency
  • Long description

    This chart has six single horizontal bars.

    Respondents were asked: Do you have additional comments about the Agency and/or its services? [Open]It displays Results among those reporting dissatisfaction with the Agency. Respondents selected:

    • "Nothing was done/should be more effort" (19 per cent);
    • "Should have authority/jurisdiction" (17 per cent);
    • "Agency is biased/corrupt/ineffective" (14 per cent);
    • "Should be faster/reduce backlog" (8 per cent);
    • "Other" (2 per cent); and
    • "Don't know/no response" (34 per cent);

    The base size is n=64.

3. Detailed Findings - Qualitative

Both parties to Agency disputes from adjudication, mediation, arbitration, and non-travel dispute adjudication were asked at the end of the survey if they would be willing to be contacted by EKOS for a follow-up interview. Eleven of these respondents indicated they would be willing to be interviewed. A total of eight qualitative interviews were conducted by telephone with these respondents during April 2015. The majority of these interviewees were involved in air transportation disputes, and the majority of interviewees were the party that initiated the complaint to the Agency.

Respondents to the qualitative interviews were asked a number of questions about the process they undertook, in an effort to add texture to the quantitative findings just described.

3.1 Fairness of Process

Despite the fact that the Agency's role is not to take sides, but rather to resolve disputes as a quasi-judicial body, results reveal that many interviewees felt that the design of the adjudication process itself, as opposed to the way the process was being implemented, lacked fairness. Interviewees felt that the process was too complex, intimidating and exhausting for an "average person", with no legal training, to argue against one or more "high priced" corporate lawyers: "It was obvious to me that the airline threw a lot of legal resources and expertise at the case. I'm just a citizen - it doesn't seem like a fair fight." A fair system, some suggested, would have lawyers on both sides, or none at all. Adding to the difficulty were complex legal documents that the average person would have difficulty interpreting: "I had no idea what I was doing. I had to figure everything out by myself. I did not get any advice."

Some of those who were interviewed commented that it was difficult to judge the fairness of the adjudication process because all of the communication had been conducted in writing. More generally, some felt that the process was a "black box": information is fed into it and a judgement comes out of it, but that it is very difficult to tell how information is being considered or evaluated: "If they are a tribunal they should be more transparent."

3.2 Efficiency of Process

Most interviewees felt that the adjudication process was not very efficient because they thought that it took longer than it should have, in some cases one year or more. Two factors were identified as contributing to the lack of efficiency: 1) the granting of extensions by Agency to industry lawyers, which added to the length of the process, and 2) delays, confusion and uncertainty at the case officer level. Here, some interviewees spoke about waiting three months for someone to be assigned to their case, being shuffled from one officer to another, and getting contradictory opinions from different Agency officers: "My file was passed to different people and each time the new person wasn't familiar with my case. I was repeatedly asked to submit evidence, when I already had." It is important to note, however, that Agency staff were also often characterized as polite and pleasant.

3.3 Understanding of the Process

No one who was interviewed felt that they understood the adjudication process well. At best, one person indicated that Agency staff were "very helpful" and that he could obtain clarification from them. For the most part, however, the process was described as "lacking transparency". Interviewees explained how they never seemed to know what to expect or how long things would take. One person felt that too much was being expected of individuals who took part in adjudication. She explained how she got very little help from Agency staff and had to "guess" at what was required of her by gleaning information from the Agency website, a site which she described as not very "user-friendly". It was her impression that Agency officials were reluctant to provide her with more/better assistance because they feared being perceived by industry as biased in favour of consumers.

One person thought that the lack of transparency could create the impression that the Agency wanted to avoid accountability: "It seems like they don't want people to be able to follow the reasoning process and judgement."

3.4 Understanding of the Outcome

The majority of those who were interviewed said that they understood the outcome or decision of their case. One of these described the decision he received as "well-written and clear". However, a few felt that while they were able to understand "the bottom line" of the decision, they were not able to see clearly on what basis the ruling was made.

3.5 Impartiality of the Process

Two of the eight people who were interviewed did not see any indication of bias in the adjudication process, but they were quick to add that judging the impartiality of a process is challenging when all of the communications take place in writing. One interviewee felt that the adjudication process was impartial, but that the mediation that preceded it was not. He felt that the Agency mediator and the airline's lawyer were "working together" to convince him to accept what the airline was offering.

Four of the five other interviewees did not think the adjudication process was impartial. They felt that the Agency and the airlines were working together to get them to "settle" (i.e., accept what the industry was offering) as quickly as possible. Some repeated that they felt that there were back channel communications taking place between the airline and the Agency: "The phone lines are open between the Agency and Air Canada." This type of perceived communications stood in contrast to the more formal communications they had with the Agency.

A few of those who were interviewed explained how their primary motivation for filing a complaint with the Agency was not to obtain compensation from the industry, but to effect meaningful change to practices and policies and possibly even regulations. One of these people, for example, saw his complaint as a "human rights case": "They didn't seem to understand that I didn't care about the money. I wanted to change the way airlines do business." In the eyes of many interviewees the process appears designed to protect the status quo; that is, to deal with consumer complaints through offers of compensation (e.g., cash, a free airline ticket, reward points, etc.). "The [Agency] is just there as a way to diffuse consumer complaints. It just ends up making the situation worse, to go through that process and come out feeling like you never had a chance in the first place."

In contrast to the members of the public who were interviewed, the lone industry representative felt that while the process was impartial, the Agency seemed to be unduly concerned with ensuring that complainants "have their day in court" based on a belief that "everyone deserves a hearing". The problem with this approach and philosophy, she explained, was that too many weak cases ("with no chance of winning") were being put through the system, resulting in delays and expense for the industry, and likely stress and hardship for complainants. She suggested that thresholds be established to prevent hopeless cases from progressing too far. She felt that the Agency's mediation process was a big step in the right direction for dealing with this issue.

3.6 Process Enhancements

The main theme to emerge from interviewees' discussion of potential process enhancements centered on a need to clarify the Agency's mandate and manage consumer expectations.

Despite having visited the Agency website and read documentation, it wasn't clear to most interviewees the role of the Agency: is it a type of consumer protection agency? Is it an ombudsman? Is it a type of court or tribunal? Most seemed to be expecting to go through a process in which the Agency would, at least to some extent, represent the consumer.

A number of interviewees indicated that, in retrospect, they would not have filed a complaint with the Agency, knowing how little "help" they would receive from the Agency. In a similar vein, some also noted that fairly early on in the adjudication process, it became clear to them that they could not win their case. According to one interviewee, her research indicated that there has only been one ruling made by the Agency in favour of a complainant against a railway company during the history of the Agency.

A number felt that the adjudication process would be enhanced if individuals had a better idea about what to expect: for example, that they would likely have to respond to claims and arguments from very skilled lawyers, and that the process could take a year or more. Similarly, some felt that the Agency should help complainants gain a better understanding of the amount of guidance and assistance they could expect from Agency officials.

3.7 Satisfaction with the Process and Service Standards

Overall reaction to the process was mixed, with a few feeling that the overall adjudication process worked fairly well, but many judging that the process used in their case did not work well. Some were critical about the time it took, but, as indicated in previous sections, the main deficiency lay in what they perceived to be an adjudication process in which individuals have "almost no chance of winning". It was apparent from interviewees' comments that participation in an adjudication process could be quite taxing: "I'm 70 years old. I'm surprised I didn't have a heart attack." Indeed, a few felt that an important part of the industry lawyers' strategy was to bring complainants to a point of "exhaustion". Thus, the issue wasn't merely that the consumer would very likely come out on the losing end of the adjudication process; it is also about the toll that participation in the process could take on them.

Knowing that Agency service standards exist did not have much impact on the views of interviewees. Some said that knowing the standards only confirmed that their case took too long. For most, however, the service standards either had little meaning in a system in which extensions appear to be common, or were relatively insignificant in comparison to what people considered to be much more serious flaws in the process (e.g., having individuals battle with corporate lawyers).

3.8 Assessment of Service Quality

Overall assessment of service quality was mixed. Agency "case officers" were praised for being "nice", and in some cases for their ability to answer questions and provide some assistance.

Although by its nature, in its role as a quasi-judicial tribunal the Agency is bound by procedural rules and the principles of natural justice, many interviewees felt that the adjudication process is too complex, opaque, and time consuming, and puts individuals in a position where they have to respond to "high priced corporate lawyers". In short, the adjudication process is perceived to be an "unfair fight". In this context, having polite staff and service standards can seem almost trivial.

3.9 Recommendations

The results of these interviews suggest the following:

  • Enhanced transparency throughout the process in order to: 1) give both sides a better idea of how the Agency is viewing a case: i.e., why it is asking for certain types of information, how it is weighing the evidence, and the basis on which it is making its decisions; and 2) to give individuals a better idea of what to expect to allow them to make a more informed decision about whether they want to proceed with a process that could be very time consuming and stressful.
  • Findings also suggest that the Agency clarify its mandate and role, and manage expectations about the type of assistance that individuals should expect from the Agency (to dispel any notion that the Agency will represent individuals, the way an ombudsman might).
  • While still maintaining impartiality, provide clear consumer and industry guidance throughout the proceedings on what to expect when going through the adjudicated process in order to help them better understand the requirements.
  • Other suggestions to make the process less daunting for individuals include the following:
    • Improve the website to make it easier for individuals to use.
    • More standardized and easy to use forms and templates.
    • Provide information that outlines in a very simple and clear fashion the steps to be followed and the stages of the process.
    • Allow case officers to provide more guidance and assistance to individuals.
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