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Toronto received more than 50 broken bin complaints every day in 2023, new data shows

Broken bins topped the list of common complaints by Torontonians last year, according to new data released by 311.

The call centre fielded nearly half a million service requests in 2023 via phone, web, and mobile app — compiling a municipal metric of resident concerns.

“This is a really big city, and what’s fascinating is to see what matters to different people in different parts of the city,” Councillor Stephen Holyday, who chairs the Service Excellence Committee, told CTV News Toronto.

Of the 487,243 service requests submitted by Torontonians in 2023, nearly 20,000 pertained to damaged bin lids — an average of 54 broken bin complaints per day. Potholes represented the second most common complaint, while calls for injured or dead wildlife prompted more than 32,000 service calls combined.

Property standards and maintenance violations rounded out the top five.

“For most people, what matters about city politics is doorstep issues. It’s literally what’s happening at your front door, around your home in your daily life,” Myer Siemiatycki, professor emeritus at Toronto Metropolitan University said Monday.

“It’s residents saying to the City, ‘look I’ve contributed, I’ve paid my way [in taxes], and I should be getting better and improved services.’”

“We know that the tax rate has increased, and with the tax rate comes greater responsibilities, and performance against that,” Gary Yorke, the city’s Customer Experience Executive Director told CTV News Toronto.

That tax was also a hot topic on the 311 phone line last year; of 848,000 general inquires, questions and queries about property tax billing and the vacant home tax were the most common.

The City aims to respond to 80 percent of 311 calls within 75 seconds, which it achieved in 2023. The average speed of answer was 46 seconds, and the average call handling time was less than five minutes.

Sudden spikes in those response times were seen during the city’s three major snow events, and leading up to the Mayoral by-election, when thousands of people called in with questions about how and where to cast their ballots.

The city’s Service Excellence Committee will use the data to better assign municipal resources and proactively address common complaints.

“It’s just like any major company, a bank, or utility would do — they would look at the information that they get from the interactions with customers, and they’ll think about ways to better use that information and to tailor their services,” Holyday said.

“People are expecting a greater level of performance and accountability and delivery,” Yorke said. “Residents want their services now, not tomorrow, and we want to make sure that we can deliver it on time, and in quality as well.”