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Community housing, TTC tops resident frustrations: Toronto ombudsman report

The latest report by Toronto’s ombudsman points to a dramatic increase in the number of complaints about city services.

The Toronto Community Housing Corp. (TCHC) and the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) topped the list of frustrations for residents.

In an annual report released on Wednesday, Ombudsman Fiona Crean said the number of complaints was up 28 per cent in 2013 over the previous year.

The TCHC, TTC and municipal licensing and standards division earned the most complaints from people, with poor communication and rude staff being the major irritations.

Seventy per cent of the complaints included poor communication by city staff and not enough information given to residents — that’s an increase from 55 per cent in 2012 and and 40 per cent in 2011.

She also said the level of frustration among people has hit the boiling point.

There’s been an increase in the number of people so angry over how they were treated by city staff that they shout profanities in the ombudsman’s office.

“Shouting, cussing … I’m talking about people coming to my office.” she said.

“There are more frustrated residents and citizens than there have been in the past four years of my office’s existence.”

She also said security had to be called several times in 2013 — something that’s never happened before.

Crean said city staff are stretched to the limit, and that is what is hurting customer service.

“There are over 2,500 jobs that have been kept vacant, and I’m sure that that’s one of the many reasons this has impacted on communication,” she said.

She said combine that with the high stress nature of many city jobs and it can’t help but hurt customer service.

“There are many jobs that are difficult. Try working for a day at the parking tags counter. It’s challenging.”

Click here to read the report.