Canadians spend more than 15 minutes on average on hold with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) despite the federal government's promise otherwise — at the cost of $481.1 million annually.Conservative MP Adam Chambers requested figures of the CRA’s progress, in documents obtained by Blacklock’s Reporter.CRA had 7,319 employees assigned to answer phones in 2023, with call centre budgets having tripled following a 2017 Auditor General’s report examining managers for incompetency. In 2018, the Liberal government pledged Canadians would reap the benefits of record-breaking budget spending by receiving prompt service of less than 15 minutes. The CRA wrote in an Inquiry of Ministry tabled in the Commons the agency’s goal was “to respond to callers within 15 minutes or less of opting to speak with an agent.”CRA “aimed to meet this standard 65% of the time” — which would be an improvement from the approximately 50% of callers who “are getting through,” prior to the inquiry, Revenue Commissioner Bob Hamilton testified at the 2018 hearings of the Senate National Finance Committee.“I’m not trying to say it’s perfect,” he said. “We are focused on improving things today for Canadians who try to reach us by phone and hopefully in the near future the technology will help us improve even more.”“I’m confident that through our action plan, we can and will do better,” he said. The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee found the CRA to have failed “alarmingly” in a report called Call Centres: Canada Revenue Agency, released following the hearing. “The Agency did a poor job of providing taxpayers with reasonable access to call centre agents and providing accurate information to those callers,” the report said. “Alarmingly, although the Agency reported it met its targets for both access and timeliness, its performance measures were incomplete and its call centre results were overstated.”“Given how deeply this situation affects Canadian taxpayers, the committee was shocked and disappointed to learn of the huge challenge many of them face in merely being able to connect to an agent,” wrote the public accounts committee.