‘It’s online’ as an excuse

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Bravo. Pam Frampton’s articles about the difficulty of navigating information about nursing and personal care homes are right on.

My siblings and I (a doctor, nurse and researcher amongst us) have spent months lost and bewildered in the labyrinths of provincial government websites, guidelines, policies, manuals and cryptic wording on “senior care.”

Recently, seeking the names of assistant deputy ministers (ADMs) in the Department of Health and Community Services, I made 11 telephone calls to that department.

Along the way:

• Five civil servants told me the names of the ADMs were online (they were not).

• Three people in the minister’s office didn’t know.

• One challenged my transfer to his line from the minister’s office, until he personally verified the transfer.

• One asked why I wanted such information; and

• one said the information I sought was “authorized” so he couldn’t give it to  me.

• It was my complaint to the premier’s office about the above that finally got me the names.

 Keep in mind that mere online availability does not make data or information correct, true, reliable, credible, worthy or valid. 

And in light of my experience above, consider “transparency.”

Elayne M. Harris


Organizations: Department of Health and Community

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Recent comments

  • Fact Checker
    November 20, 2013 - 12:32

    In a mere 30 seconds I found the information: From the main government website, to the telephone directory, type "deputy" in the position section and choose "Health" leaving all other spots blank, hit search and voila their names, numbers, and emails. Seeing only four people, I figured there might be more if the phone book was not recently updated. I went to the Health and Community Services Department and clicked on "contact," scrolled down and saw one or two more office numbers. I am sure a quick call to their respective offices will get the right right. Simple enough. No need for a conspiracy cover-up theory investigation and letter to the paper. The first five people where right, you just never looked in the right place. The second three were not that bad, not everyone knows every other person that works in the same department as them, they might be their superiors but do not supervise them or sign heir checks. The next two might be trying to be helpful in making sure you get the right office for the right purpose instead of leading you astray. The last was probably just following protocol and union rules not giving you the names because it was not in their job description and did not want to put his neck on the line just in case he gave you outdated information. Way to go making a mountain out of a non-existent mole hill.

  • Government Telephone Directory
    November 20, 2013 - 11:51

    The online government phone directory has not been updated and contains many names of people who were laid off back in April. 6 months after they were dismissed thir names are still there. Government efficiency at its worst.