Real Life Queueing Examples

Last Update: August 6, 2009.

Cut Queues And Win Business. 6th August 2009. Cost Sector online magazine.


How Fish Punish Queue Jumpers


Queueing for Toilets

There is an interesting article by Don McNickle on this subject available at


Queueing for Toilets: Men vs. Women

Toll Booths

The Windsor Star (June 6, 2008)
New Booths Mean Shorter Waits
Seven to open on Detroit side of Ambassador bridge and U.S. Customs intends to staff them
By Monica Wolfson, Windsor Star staff reporter

Seven new customs booths on the U.S. side of the Ambassador Bridge should make crossing from Canada easier this summer than last year, when border delays were the worst since 9-11, border officials. Last year, wait times into the U.S. in Detroit area averaged 24 minutes.

The Ambassador Bridge will open seven new car inspection booths for use by U.S. Customs starting June 15, a bridge official said. The booth this will be open during peak travel times, including on weekends.

"We see fewer backups Monday through Friday because that's generally when the bulk of our commuter customers are crossing," said Skip McMahon, spokesman for the Ambassador Bridge. "They know what to do and not to do. On the weekends that's when we see day trippers. They're not quite as well prepared, so customs officials take longer. The traffic volumes are down, but the time frames are longer."

Unlike the truck customs booths that were recently built on the Canadian side but never staffed by Canadian border guards, a U.S. official said the booths will be occupied, but he wasn't sure of the timeline.

" Once the booths are operational, we'll staff them as needed," said Ricardo Scheller, assistant director for border security for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The Detroit-Windsor tuneel is landlocked and can't really expand its U.S. Customs plaza.

"Starting in July, I've been assured by U.S. Customs this summer will be significantly different from last summer in terms of delays," said Neil Belinski, president of the Detroit Windsor Tunnel LLC. "I can't go into details."

He did say there will be more automated toll booths that accept credit cards, expanded Nexus lanes and use of pass cards. "We look at the use of technology to better use the space to accommodate safety and safely move traffic," Belinski said.

Extensive delays into the U.S.- last year the wait was more than an hour, 50 to 70% of the time - have already been minimized at the Blue Water Bridge, said spokesman Stan Korosek. He said he hopes the government doesn't have to put portable toilets along Highway 402 as they did last summer to accommodate motorists who stuck waiting to cross the bridge.

"We're working with our border partners to ensure (transit) of legal trade and travel," Scheller said.

The Red Bull Air Race on Sunday was a special event that shouldn't be used to judge efforts to have a smooth the border transition, officials said. U.S tourists waited hours to return home. "There were 150,000 U.S. people who went to the Canadian side [to view the racer]," Scheller from the U.S. Customs, said. "Wait times were 65 minutes on average. We were prepared for that."

Later this year the Ambassador bridge will also build four more truck customs booths in the U.S. Plaza and is in discussions with U.S. Customs to create special lanes for single occupant vehicles and other lanes for high occupancy vehicles "It should give customs some comfort that we've done a bit to separate the vehicles before they get to the booths," McMahon said.

Travelers can also use credit cards at the automated toll booths in addition to commuter cards.

While the U.S. works on improving its border wait times, Korosec said he is also concerned about delays getting into Canada. "I'm concerned with Canada Border Services staffing on the weekends," Korosec said of the Blue Water Bridge situation. "On Memorial Day weekend there were one to two hour delays getting into Canada. Not all the booths were open. So far, after all the complaining we did about last year getting into the U.S., I'd hate to experience that coming into Canada this summer."

Denny Yan, a spokesman for Canada Border Services Agency, said the government recognizes the need for efficient trade and tourism. "We respond to travel fluctuations," Yan said. "when appropriate the CBSA assigns additional staff and resources due to increased volumes."

But delays could be the result of behind the scenes events, Yen said "Border security is our number one priority," Yen said. "There could be many things going on at any given time - an arrest or seizure. There could be a delay behind the scenes. If they had eight booths open and then theye were down to five, there's probably a reason for that."

Jumping the Queue: Brian Day is hardly alone

National Post
December 05, 2007
Glenn Baglo/CanWest News Service

Dr. Brian Day, head of the Canadian Medical Association made headlines this week when he admitted he jumped the queue on a medical procedure for his daughter. Dr. Brian Day, the controversial president of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), has made his biggest headlines yet after an interview on Monday with the editorial board of the Ottawa Citizen. Dr. Day has tongues wagging because he dared to mention, and admit to using, one of the hidden tiers in our "equal-access" health care system. The orthopedic surgeon told the Citizen how he had taken his daughter, then five years old, to a clinic for an examination after she experienced a sudden pain in her leg. Initial results suggested the presence of a tumour. Dr. Day was told to "bring her back next week" for a full CT scan of the leg. Your average, duty-minded Canadian might have accepted the instruction and taken his child home to live in quiet terror of a cancer diagnosis for a week. Dr. Day pulled strings at the hospital and had the scan done that day. In his chat with the Citizen board, he also owned up to another occasion upon which he used his influence with a friend to beat the queue for his own knee surgery. On the crackling airwaves of talk radio, much of the reaction to Dr. Day's confession seems to have revolved around whether he can be considered "fit" to be head of the CMA -- as if the position were a public sinecure, rather than merely the leadership of an influential lobby group. As far as we know, sainthood is not one of the qualifications for the job. By admitting to the presence and power of personal pull in our medicare system, Dr. Day hopes to encourage more honesty from doctors and politicians -- almost all of whom have done exactly the same thing he did --and to bring about the appetite for change. This is in stark contrast to those who claim to love our "single-tier" system of long queues for basic procedures, and reject the influence of money, but who hypocritically use one of medicare's relief valves -- patronizing a private clinic, stealing across the border to take advantage of the hated U.S. system, or using one's authority or friendships to queue-jump. At this point in history, well-heeled advocates of the "single -tier" seem much like those who supported the bizarre sumptuary laws of early modern Europe, which jealously outlawed the wearing of certain luxurious fabrics and items by the increasingly wealthy mercantile classes. If you are an upper-class Canadian whose doctor friends can be trusted to help you out in a crisis, you don't want them facing a large economic opportunity cost for pushing you to the head of the queue -- which would be the case if all those pushy middle-class folks were permitted to use their money to buy the health care they want. And you definitely don't want a system that encourages maximum use of those doctors' work hours. Otherwise, you won't be able to get your physician golfing buddies to squeeze you in on short notice. And if you're a politician, of course you don't want people to be able to pay for faster access to care; it would devalue the currency of prestige and power if some working-class schmuck were able to get his hip fixed before yours, just because he had saved up for it or bought insurance. Why trade in one's status as a miniature potentate vested with budgetary powers of life and death for the lesser glory of being a mere customer? But most of us, we suspect, would love it if doctors and hospitals treated us the way we are treated at supermarkets or coffee shops -- as clients rather than perpetual nuisances. That Dr. Day appears to recognize this fact -- and is so candid about the flaws and hypocrisies that inhere to Canada's current state-dominated system -- marks him as a leading voice in the debate over the future of Canadian health care.

Top doctor admits to queue-jump

December 03, 2007
No wait times should exist, CMA head argues

Kate Jaimet, CanWest News Service

Glenn Baglo/CanWest News Service
OTTAWA -- When his five-year-old daughter's bone scan revealed a tumour that might be cancerous, the man who is now president of the Canadian Medical Association decided to jump the queue. His wife, also a doctor, had taken their daughter into the emergency room of a Vancouver hospital after the little girl experienced a sudden pain in her leg, Dr. Brian Day recalled. The initial bone scan indicated a tumour, but couldn't reveal whether or not it was cancerous. "The hospital said: 'We'll do a CT scan, bring her back next week,' " Dr. Day said. "To me, it's completely unacceptable, sending a mother home for six days not knowing whether her daughter has a malignant or a benign bone tumour. I made the phone call ... I made them do it that day." Dr. Day's experience is one example of what he calls the "parallel public system," a system of social connections that make it easier for people in a certain class of society to get quick access to medical treatment. He admits he himself used the system when he needed knee surgery, jumping a long queue to get the procedure done within a week by a surgeon who was also his friend. It's not realistic, Dr. Day believes, to expect people not to use their connections to jump the queue when their own or their family's health is at stake. What is realistic, he said, is to eradicate medical wait times, so there's no queue to jump and everyone -- no matter what their social class -- can get quick access to medical care. "There shouldn't be wait times in a country that's a rich country, that's got a booming economy, that's got taxes going down," Dr. Day said in a meeting Monday with the Ottawa Citizen's editorial board. And while he acknowledged there would be an up-front cost to eliminating wait times, he said patients on waiting lists actually end up costing the system more money because their condition deteriorates by the time they get to the front of the line. "At all levels, waiting costs money," said Dr. Day. "If it costs $7-, $10-billion dollars to get rid of wait lists, it's worth it." An orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Day worked in the public health care system for 20 years. He opened a private clinic in Vancouver, the Cambie Surgery Centre, in 1995. He has proven an outspoken and controversial figure since taking over as president of the CMA in August. Dr. Day said Monday he wants to open up a public debate on health care, because politicians are too afraid to speak frankly about the subject. "Politicians of all stripes want to sweep health care under the carpet," he said. "Any call for change in the system is targeted as attacking the 'national identity' of Canada." He said the first step toward eliminating wait times would be to change the way hospitals are funded. In the current system, he said, each hospital is given a lump sum of funding. Any treatment given to patients is then taken out of that ump sum, creating a negative entry on the balance sheets. Instead, he said, hospitals should be given money for each time they treat a patient. That would give them an incentive to treat more patients, and keep their operating rooms busy instead of letting them lie idle. "Fifty per cent of newly trained orthopedic surgeons leave the country within five years because they can't get operating time ... [It's] our system, the way the hospital is funded, where the patient is a cost, not a value," Dr. Day said. "The instant you tell hospitals you're going to get revenue for treating patients, they're going to start treating patients." The change would result in more specialists staying in Canada, and even coming to Canada from abroad, he said. And with no wait times, Canada could begin attracting U.S. medical tourists, a multi-billion dollar industry, Dr. Day said. He added the pay-per-procedure model has been successful in Britain, where wait times have gone down to zero since it was introduced in 2004. But in an open letter to Dr. Day in August, a group of British doctors argued this model of funding, combined with more contracting out of publicly funded services to private clinics, have led to "a destabilized and damaged public service" in the U.K. The doctors in Britain's National Health Service Consultants Association argued in their letter policy reform such as those advocated by Dr. Day has led to unnecessary hospital admissions and private clinics scooping up contracts for quick, lucrative surgical procedures while leaving public hospitals to provide low-paid, day-to-day care to the chronically ill. "Money has been lavished on politically sensitive wait lists for elective surgery through expensive and unsustainable deals with the private sector. This has been to the detriment of many patients with more long-term needs," the letter stated. But Dr. Day said it was the government's fault if it signed bad deals with private-sector clinics, and examples of bungled contracts don't disprove the value of the funding model. Besides the issue of wait lists, Dr. Day said a public debate is needed over what medical procedures should and shouldn't be funded by medicare. He pointed out there are many medically necessary treatments -- such as physiotherapy, dental care, and drugs -- not covered by the current public health care system. This leaves about 30% of the population, who have no private health benefits, in the underclass of what is de facto a two-tier system. That raises questions about whether the current system is fair, or whether public funding should be allocated differently, he said. As well, with an ageing population demanding more high-tech medical interventions -- and with new, and more expensive, medical procedures being developed such as gene therapy, stem-cell treatments and nanotechnology -- Canadians will have to make hard ethical decisions about what will and won't be publicly funded in the future. "You can't give everyone robotic heart surgery. It's impossible," he said. However, Dr. Day wouldn't give an opinion as to what criteria should be used to decide which procedures receive public funding. "We need to give [the public] the facts. You can't have everything, so what do you want?," he said. "Those questions need to be asked of Canadians. It's not our role to dictate to them."

September 22, 2006

The National Post.
Page A1.
Lineups for non cancer surgeries grow
Researchers find resources being cannibalized to reduce cancer waits

By Tom Blackwell
As governments roll out high profile campaigns to cut waiting times for cancer surgery, patients needing other types of operations appear to be suffering as a result, queueing up longer for procedures such as gall bladder surgery, warn the authors of a new study on the backlog issue. The study, billed as the most comprehensive look yet at delays in cancer surgery in Canada, concluded waits to have malignant tumors removed in Ontario more than doubled in some cases between the 1980's and 2000. The researchers and knowledge the trend has been halted with much publicized efforts to speed up cancer surgery, but say sparse human resources are being cannibalized from other areas to do so, increasing discomfort and endangering the health of the non cancer patients. The sense that things are improving here in Ontario is good if you're waiting for cancer surgery, but I think it's bad if you're waiting for another kind of surgery. Perhaps you're paying the price to get someone else in, said Dr. Trevor Bardell a general surgeon affiliated with Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, and coauthor of the study. "I don't know it is necessarily more important to treat these patients at the expense of others. It's something that hasn't really been addressed in the media or addressed by the government." At Kingston general hospital over the past year and a half, the average waits for cancer surgery after diagnosis leveled off at about 22 days as new operations were added. During the same period, waits for other surgery doubled to about 60 days on average from 30, said Dr. Paul Belliveau, vice president of the hospital's medical staff and past president of the Canadian Association of General Surgeons. The same problem is occurring in virtually every other province and the association has raised the issue with various provincial health ministers and the Canadian medical association, he said. Part of the problem is a shortage of physicians and other staff, which means spending more money does not necessarily result in more operations, Dr. Belliveau said. He suspects the money designed to produce additional cancer surgery is ending up in a hospital general revenues, helping offset large deficits. Nonetheless, surgeons at his city's two hospitals came up with a plan to run on trading rooms after hours and on Saturdays, with existing staff of working extra shifts. But the idea was rejected because of opposition from the hospital unions, who complained it would result in an abuse of labor, he said. Some cancer specialists and administrators, meanwhile, say they have seen no evidence that the health care system is robbing Peter to pay Paul, though they would not discount the possibility entirely. "That's not in the spirit of what was intended," said Dr. John Irish, head of surgical oncology at Toronto's Princess Margaret Hospital, which specializes in cancer treatment. "You should have your hernia repair or your gallbladder out in just as timely a way. It would be disappointing to see hospitals, in a sense, play games with taxpayers' money. " The wait times study by members of the Queen's University Division of Cancer Care and Epidemiology examined the Ontario Cancer Registry, which records the experiences of the province's cancer patients with data from hospitals, regional cancer centres, pathology labs and death certificates. Between 1984 and 2000, the lag between getting diagnosed with cancer and receiving surgery, if it was needed, jumped substantially across the board. That included an increase from 14 to 33 days for oesophageal cancer, from 12 to 27 days for breast cancer and 16 to 33 days for cancer of the larynx. The researchers found line-ups for radiation therapy grew similarly. There is no hard evidence to date that such delays will undermine patient's ability to fight off a cancer, noted the paper, published recently in the U.K. based Journal of Clinical Oncology. But the backlogs undoubtedly have other negative impacts, experts say. "The effect on the individual patient who must wait for treatment of a lor:#99ff99"> life threatening illness remains simple," said the study. "Fear and anxiety about the procedure persists, and the perception that survival chances will decrease with increased waiting time is near universal." But, as in other provinces the situation has changed in Ontario over the past couple of years, with $63 million spent by this May to generate an extra 11,000 cancer operations, according to the health ministry. That has begun slowly to reverse waiting times, said Dr. Terry Sullivan, president of Cancer Care Ontario. Yet lineups for gall bladder, hernia and other procedures are growing, Dr. Bardell and his colleagues say. And gall bladder patients, for instance, can suffer serious complications if they have to wait too long for surgery, he said. Dr. Irish said hospitals receiving spending increases earmarked for cancer operations must agree specifically not to draw resources from other areas. Although there is a finite number of surgeons to go around, they can be made more productive by increasing their time in the operating room and improving efficiency, he said. Additional cancer operations were not meant to be a substitution for other procedures, stressed Dr. Sullivan. "I'm not saying it isn't happening, but I haven't seen any evidence that it is happening."


Spring 2006. See


MAY 2, 2007
Number of claimants has not increased but process time continues to grow
OTTAWA – Canada’s backlog of refugee claims and immigration appeals has almost doubled in the first quarter of 2007, creating frustration and disappointment for many stuck in the application queue. NDP Citizenship and Immigration Critic Bill Siksay (Burnaby-Douglas) said the backlog is an indication that the Conservatives are more interested in partisan politics than fair service. “It is unfortunate that many refugees are escaping dangerous and difficult situations, only to have their application sit piled high at the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), virtually neglected, and their lor:#99ff99">life put on indefinite hold,” said Siksay. “This is not acceptable.” According to a Canadian Press report, an IRB spokesperson has confirmed that the number of refugee claimants has not gone up significantly, but the backlog created is due to internal issues, particularly a large number of vacancies in board members. Over one-third of the necessary IRB positions are vacant. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Diane Finley and the government have been refusing to reappoint any member originally appointed by the previous government and have been slow to appoint new members. On April 30, Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, finally announced four full-time appointments to the IRB. As of March 31, the effective backlog of claims stood at 6,164 – up from 3,495 at the end of 2006. During the same period, the number of adjudicators available to hear refugee claims had declined while the average length of time to process a claim rose to 12.6 months from 12.3. “Re-appointments must be made urgently. This work must be done. Th experience represented by former Board members, who have been effectively doing the job, must not be lost to the system. It is unfair to have refugees wait up to a year, sometimes more, just to learn whether they can start a fresh, new lor:#99ff99">life in a safe and secure country like Canada,” said Siksay.

Health Care Queues are Big News

April 6, 2007. by Andrew Mayeda, CanWest News Service. Ottawa:
PM Unveils Patient Wait Time Guarantees: :
Opposition Critics Accuse Harper of Watering Down the Original Election Promise: :
Prime Minister Stephen Harper declared victory on Wednesday in his effort to extract health care wait time guarantees from the provinces and territories, but medical experts and opposition critics declared the mission far from accomplished. :

Implementing a wait times guarantee for patients was one of the Conservatives' five priorities during the last election campaign.But it has turned up to be a tough assignment for Federal health minister Tony Clement, who has been negotiating for months with thirteen provinces and territories, which has jurisdiction over health care.

Harper announced Wednesday all the provinces and territories have agreed to establish wait times guarantees by 2010. "Today, I'm very pleased to announce that minister Clement has succeeded in h is mission," and Harper told a conference on wait times hosted by the Canadian medical association.

However, observers noted the agreement only guarantees timely access to health care in "at least one" of six priority areas: cancer care, hip and knee replacement, cardiac care, diagnostic imaging, cataract surgeries and a primary care. In their 2006 election platform, the Conservatives promised to establish "evidence based" benchmarks for all of those areas, except a primary care.

Health care professionals reacted with cautious optimism. Chris Simpson, a representative for the Canadian cardiovascular society, called the agreement a "significant step forward," but warned much work must be done before patients can be certain of how long they will wait for treatment. "We're nowhere near the point where we can say "mission accomplished." This isn't a George Bush thing where we say this issue is done and we can move on. This is just the start."

Meanwhile, opposition critics accused Harper of watering down his own regional election promise. "I actually laughed out loud, because it's the first time I've seen a politician make a public announcement that he was breaking a promise," said Liberal MP Bonnie Brown, the parties health critic. "To me, this is just further proof that he is getting to have an election."

NDP health critic Penny Priddy said that Harper government has yet to demonstrate a long-term Healthcare vision for the country.

"Leave campaigning for the election, whenever that will be. What we need right now is a vision for health care. Wait times are a symptom of a system that isn't working."

Under the agreement, provinces can choose the area in which to offer a wait times guarantee. Manitoba, for example, will offer guarantees on radiation therapy, while Saskatchewan will do so in cardiac care, Clemente said Wednesday. The government will use research based benchmarks to determine how long a patient should reasonably be expected to wait, he said. If the patient cannot receive care during that time, he or she can seek treatment in another province through the public health care system.

D/D/1 System Vs M/D/1 System for Blood Donations.

(from U. of Windsor Daily News, March 17, 2006)
The Canadian Blood Service will hold a full blood donor clinic on Monday, March 20, in Ambassador Auditorium in the CAW Student Centre from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For this clinic, the Canadian Blood Service will use its appointment system. It encourages donors to book appointments by calling 1-888-2DONATE (1-888-236-6283). Walk-in donors are still welcome but appointments will better accommodate donors' working schedules.

Retrial Queues

(posted December, 2005.)
From a business annual meeting with the president available to the stock holders for questions
"To ensure that we address as many people'’s questions as possible in te time allotted, please keep to a limit of two questions per participant. If you wish to ask more questions, please re-enter the queue."


(from 2005 Revenue Quebec (Regie des reentes du Quebec))
Service Statement: If you call the Regie, the waiting tiem to speak with an information clerk is 30 seconds in 75% of cases and you will never wait more than 3 minutes. This is one of the Regie's commitments to clients and we respect it 95% of the time.


(from The Windsor Star. March 24, 2005)
(Canadian Press: Saskatoon)

A total of 22 health organizations have combined forces to create a list that will let patients know the maximum time they can expect to wait for service.

Dr. John McGurran of the Western Canada Waiting List project explained the idea at a recent meeting of the Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations.

He said one of the project's first goals was to develop a scoring system to assess urgency of patients already on medical wait lists.

"It's a novel approach," McGurran said, explaining that a num ber of factors are considered before a patient is rated from 0 (least urgent) to 100 (most urgent).

As a small measure of the project's success, the priority systems for hip/knee replacement and cataract removal surgery have been put into use by the Saskatchewan Surgical Care Network.

In 2003, the Saskatchewan government also outlined a plan to have all surgeries, including electives, completed within 18 months.

The project was launched six years ago. And with several other health jurisdictions already accepting the projects proposals, McGurrna says he feels the groundwork has been laid to improve many aspects of Canadian health care.



(by Dave Battagello, Windsor Star Border Reporter, Nov. 9, 2004)
Four new U.S. customs booths added in June on the Detroit side of the Ambassador Bridge appear to have eliminated lengthy tuck lineups on Huron Church Road.

"This has been an excellent short term development put forward by the Ambassador Bridge," said Steve Laskowski, assistant vice-president for the Ontario Trucking Alliance.

"They lobbied on the U.S. side to get these booths opened and manned. In the short term, it has really provided a resolution to the queues," Laskowski said.

Bridge spokesman Skip McMahon said the end of the truck lineup the past few months can be explained by very simple mathematics. Bridge officials long ago determined that if U.S. Customs can clear 300 trucks per hour then there are usually no lineups on the bridge span and Huron Chruch Road.

On average, a truck is cleared in about two minutes at primary U.S. Customs inspection booths in Detroit, McMahon said. With nine lanes previously, that meant about 30 per lane or about 270 trucks per hour, which resulted in backups.

But since four new lanes opened on June 23 - bringing the number of primary booths to 13 - the number of trucks able to be cleared on average is 390 per hour.

With nine lanes, we were very close," McMahon said. "We knew we were a few booths staffed by U.S. customs away from moving this traffic.

"We always knew that we were never a new bridge away from moving traffic. That's why we moved to get these booths operating as quickly as possible. And U.S. Customs has been staffing them. They are doing a great job manning the booths.

Other things helping to clear the jam include the border clearance program FAST and additional front line customs officers added recently at the bridge, said Kevin Weeks, director of field operations for U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Detroit.

The truck lineups have also disappeared despite a slight increase in car and truck traffic at the bridge in the past month.

There were 535,368 car trips across the bridge in October - more than 18,000 above the 517,036 which crossed in October, 2003.

"There are still days when the customs throughput time is two minutes ans 30, 40 and 50 seconds. Then we see some minor backups." McMahon said. "But since June 23, and until the U.S. election - with increased levels of security - there have been no backups directly related to throughput issues at U.S. Customs."

He cited a number of reasons for the few delays that have occurred - including a computer problem at U.S. Customs, a fuel spill, a couple of car accidents, and a recent strike by Canada Customs.


Message from IT Services:
Last night (Dec 8, 2004), one of the three mail queues on one of the Domino server VENUS became corrupt. As a result, some outgoing messages sent during this period may have bounced back to the sender with the error message "Error transferring to VENUS; Database is corrupt -- Cannot allocate space". The problem has been resolved this morning as of 8:20 AM. Users are advised to resend any messages that bounced back with the error message listed above.


September, 2002
A CBC radio program indicated that there are 180,000 telemarketers in Canada (with a population of 30 million). Another radio program indicated that telemarketers use multiple dialing so that they phone a number of homes simultaneously. As soon as one answers, the other phones still ringing are diconnected. This explains why we sometimes receive phone calls but when we answer there is nobody there.


September, 2002
Due to test and time requirements for some procedures, patients may be called out of sequence. (Bioscience Lab, Windsor, Ontario)

Arrests in New York City. 1993 article by Larson, Cahn, Shell.


September, 2002
A recent call to the University of Windsor registrar's office gave the following message.
"Thank you for calling the registrar's office. All of our agents are busy. Please remain on the line. Thank you.

After one minute the message was
"Your call is important to us. Please remain on the line."
This was repeated each minute until an operator answered.

Disney's FASTPASS (POOF go the long lines!)

(from a description on the DisneyWorld Magic Kingdom Guidemap, as received July, 2002)
Disney's FASTPASS is FREE and easy to use and cuts the wait time on the most popular attractions.
How does it work?
You must use your current FASTPASS ticket OR wait two hours befor getting another FASTPASS ticket for a different attraction.
Disney's FASTPASS is now available at the following attractions: BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN RAILROAD, ...

Orlando Universal Studios EXPRESS

(from the Universal Islands of Adventure Guide, received July, 2002)
Present your admission ticket at the Universal EXPRESS Distribution Centers located adjacent to their respective attraction entrances. Choose an attraction and receive an EXPRESS Pass to return and ride with little or no wait (anticipated wait 15 minutes). Return to the chosen attraction at the time specified and present your EXPRESS PASS to the attendant at the Universal Express entrance.
Guests may receive one EXPRESS pass at a time. You may receive your next pass AFTER Universal Express passes subject to availability and hours of distribution are limited.

Phone Mood Detector To Calm Irate Callers

Form the Windsor Star, July 9, 2002.
Angry callers who are furious by the time they have fumbled through endless push button menus will be noticed faster and sent to staff who have conflict resolution skills, under a new phone system developed in the United States.

Anyone who pushes too hard at the phone keys, or speaks too loudly or in a stressed tone, or uses swear words indicating anger will be immediately connected to an operator with a soothing manner.

A patent for the technology was recently granted to a California subsidiary of a Canadian communication company called MITEL. The technology is being developed at the same time as speech recognition technology.

The new technology is a response to increasing complaints about automated systems used by companies to handle routine inquiries.

Crisis Plan Aims to Cut Truck Traffic.

The Windsor Star, p. A1.
July 3, 2002.
by Roseann Danese.
Mayor Wants Holding Area where Trucks would Await Bridge Access.

Mayor Mike Hurst says he will announce an emergency plan today to deal with a traffic crisis caused by U.S. bound trucks.

A meeting of the city's emergency team was held Tuesday to come up with a solution for the hundreds of trucks clogging Windsor streets as they wait to get on to the Ambassador Bridge.

"I'm looking at some options that would get us out of an unbearable situation that in my opinion is a crisis."

Hurst has been discussing several ideas with local auto manufacturers, including one that would have trucks heading to the U.S. diverted to a holding area off Highway 401 while waiting for clearance to cross the Ambassador Bridge.

Such a move would avoid truck lineups along city side streets and on Huron Church Road. But the city is powerless to make such an order on its own.

"The problem of course is that we do not have jurisdiction on the 401," Hurst said. We think the issue of somehow marshalling - queueing - international trucks in an orderly way makes a great deal of sense. And of course, that would have to be done somewhere outside the corporate limits of the city of Windsor. "We don't have the legislative wherewithall to do that."

The city's emergency operations control group, comprised of officials from the fire and police departments, ambulance service, health unit and various other agencies, was formed in the wake of Sept. 11.

After a meeting with that group Tuesday, Hurst notified officials from the provinces emergency measures office, the ministry of Transportation, and the federal office of emergency preparedness something needs to be done. Hurst said he will have a list of ideas today for the two senior levels of government.

Among some of the simple solutions are the installation of signs on the 401 directing trucks to stay on Huron Church Road and for the province to inform trucking associations of the serious situation.

Hurst will also be pressing the federal and provincial governments to come up with 1.2 million dollars that has been requested by the city. The money, he said, is needed fro practical improvements, which includes installing streetlight traffic sensors to move trucking along Huron Church Road.

"It seems to me as though I've got to do what I've got to do in order to address a situation that is creating health, safety, security and negative economic impact repercussions on a growing number of Windsorites." Hurst said.

Patients Facing Delays

From the Windsor Star. Jan. 12, 2002. By Veronique Mandel.
Waiting lists for people needing cancer care are unacceptably long and have to be fixed, Cancer Care Ontario president Graham Scott said in Windsor Friday.

Unless a patient has a virulent form of cancer, it can take from six to thirteen weeks to get treatment. We're not happy about this, because it causes a lot of anxiety and fear but we're really hampered by a lack of people to do the work," said Scott. "We're trying to develop better ways to track the waiting lists, and feel confident that the regionalization project we're working on will better co-ordinate cancer services and help the waiting list problem.

Scott was in Windsor meeting with chief executive officers from the provinces nine cancer treatment facilities, including the Windsor centre's CEO, Dr. Hakam Abu-Zahra. Ontario has the largest cancer organization in the world, said Scott, and seven of Canada's ten provinces have similar but smaller centres.

Ontario has 400 radiation therapists, but needs another 62. It also needs upwards of 16 more radiation oncologists to add to the 80 to 95 in the province.

Because of the ong waiting lists, 1600 Ontario patients were being treated in the United States, and another 600 were being shunted across the province. About 120 of the 1600 patients were from Windsor. A $3000 cancer treatment in Windsor costs $20000 in the U.S.

In order to keep people at home, CCO opened an after hours clinic in Toronto focused on treating breast and prostate cancer; the two main reasons for sending people out of the country. The clinic negotiated a special agreement to keep treatment machines running between 6 and 10 p.m. and has effectively stopped travel to the U.S. and northern Ontario.

"We are treating 12% more patients than we were just one year ago." he said. "We've hired 100 more radiation therapists and 30 more radiation oncologists, but it isn't enough."

Some aspects of long waiting lists are not under the control of the cancer centres, and are caused by backups and delays in getting diagnostic cancer scans. Scott says that a regional co-operative network between all cancer centres, a closer partnership with Ontario's hospitals, and co-ordination with all medical services will go a long way to reducing the wait and hassle for patients.

"Our objective is to make sure that people in this province get cancer care and treatment in the most timely fashion and as close to home as possible," Scott said.

Abu-Zahra says the Windsor cancer centre has fine tuned its tracking system to pinpoint when wait times are attributed to factors outside the cancer centre, which allows them to make improvements in the system. Another stress on the system is the fact that the incidence and prevalence of cancer is growing steadily with 50,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the province. In Windsor there are 2,500 cases annually.

Cancer Care Ontario operates on an annual budget of $280 million per year. Ontario spends a total of $1.5 billion per year on cancer care.

Golfing Queues and Scheduling

From the Windsor Star, Jan 30, 2002. Page A1.
To the Speedy, tee times: Tracking system rewards golfers who play quickly. by Mary Agnes Welch
New made in Windsor omputer software promises to weed out rude, slow, or rule breaking golfers, says its designer, Nick Panasiuk, owner of Hydaeaway Golf Course.

The digital tracking system - DTS - made its debut at Hydeaway over the weekend and will s pread to other local golf courses later this year and to Toronto by 2004, predicted Panasiuk.

It's designed to enforce golf etiquette while luring speedy golfers who usually avoid public courses over the weekend.

"Nobody wants to play behind a slow guy," said Panasiuk, who took over Hydeaway from his dad last year. "There are more players who don't want to golf on Saturday or Sunday because of the slow players than there are actual players."

They also serve who stand, wait

Monday, October 15, 2001
From Dispatch on Line (
LONDON -- A new company is promising Britons the unthinkable: an end to waiting in line.

The British tendency to form orderly lines, even at bus stops, is legendary. Britain's first "queuing agency", Q4U, promises to relieve busy Londoners of the time-consuming need to stand in line themselves -- for a price.

"Figures show that we spend about a year of our lives standing in queues," said Patrick Young, a director of the agency's parent company, 15 Minutes. "Some business or individuals simply don't have the time to do this, so we give them the chance to pay somebody else to queue for them."

Young says the agency charges R260 an hour and employs about 80 "professional queuers" who will line up for anything, from passports to concert tickets.

The company recruits most of its staff from the ranks of the long-term unemployed. "It's a job that doesn't require a lot of skill or experience. All you need is plenty of patience." -- Sapa-AP


Date: August 6, 2001.
See article at

Blood Donor Clinics

From The University of Windsor Daily News, August 13, 2001.
Canadian Blood Services collected 34 units at the donor clinic at the CAW Student Centre last Wednesday. Although they tried a pre-registration format to help people plan their donation time, only eight people set up appoints before the clinic. Nevertheless, 45 people came through the door to donate. That was more than the clinic was set up to handle."

Priority Queueing Example

The following is taken from an Ontario Hospital Association document (Publication #283) (circa 1998)

Why are we waiting?

While no one enjoys waiting, especially when you are anxious or in pain, it is important to remember that when it comes to emergency care, "first come, first served" does not make good health care sense. Hospital emergency room teams are designed to ensure that those patients in urgent need are treated first. Each year, this practice saves many lives.

That's why emergency departments use a system called "triage" which is designed to ensure the most seriously ill patients are seen first, even if they may come into the department after you do. This means that the first person you see in an emergency room will probably be a "triage" nurse who will assess your condition as quickly as possible.

Up to 70% of all people who come to hospital emergency rooms may not need emergency care. By planning ahead, you can save yourself time and anxiety.

Deaths On Heart Surgery Waiting List Jump to 55

From The Windsor Star, Feb. 28, 1997

Fifty-five people have died while waiting for heart operations in Ontario in the last ten months, a "significant" increase on previous years that has experts worried.

A new study yet to be published concludes that "excessive waiting times" are a factor in such deaths, a spokesman for Ontario's Cardiac Care Network said Thursday. The length of cardiac surgery waiting lists in the province soared by almost 30 percent last year.

"We're obviously concerned that the death rate has increased," said network head Mark Vimr. "It's not a huge increase. We don't want to suggest this is alarming. But if it was someone I knew, it wouldn't matter if it was just two more patients."

U.S. Medical Care for Sale in Canada

[Canadian medical treatment is free to all Canadians, but patients may have to wait for long periods of time to get treatment.]
From the St. Catherines Standard, St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada. July 21/97
Article by Sharon Kirkey.
"Roger Rickwood is in the brokerage business, but its not gold shares he's promoting, but new hip and heart bypasses. Rickwood is a member of the board of directors of Free Trade Medical Network, a Toronto company selling discount no delay medical care in the United States for Canadians who don't want to spend months on waiting lists at home.

"FTMN can arrange a hip replacement in an American hospital in 48 hours - if you or your employer is willing to pay $25,000. In Ontario, patients face waits of two years for a non urgent Ontario Health funded hip replacement. A heart operation will cost up to $80,000, but for that price, you can get a bypass in a week, instead of 3.5 months in a Canadian hospital. Rickman says delays in the Canadian health system can mean billions of dollars in lost wages and disability payments for the Canadian economy.

"Some Canadian doctors believe that hospital emergency departments are being hit with fallout of increased waiting times; the longer patients wait, the worse their illness becomes, and the more likely they are to end up in emergency. Some patients are reportedly waiting so long for diagnostic tests such as MRI that the doctors are encouraging them to go to emergency to try to jump the queue."

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Being `A Name' Expedites Care

From The Windsor Star: Oct.1, 1998.
By Tom Blackwell, The Canadian Press, Toronto.

All Canadians are supposed to get equal access to health care.

But when it comes to heart disease, at least, a pop star, hockey player, or cabinet mnister is likely to get faster, more frequent treatment than most.

Entertainers, sports figures, politicians - and other doctors - are among those who can get preferential access to cardiac services, concludes a survey of heart physicians and hospital administrators.

Patients who are aggressive about theuir rights or seem inclined to sue can also move up th line quickly, it says,

The study focused on Ontario, but the findings likely apply to all of Canada, says the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences.

The VIP patients appear mostly on elective and non urgent waiting lists and don't take precedence over urgent or emergency cases, said the report.

Cardiac surgeon Dr. Hugh Scully, one of the country's foremost heart doctors, acknowledged Wednesday that people do get red-carpet treatment "from time to time."

"Every now and then you get a request to (give someone speedier service) and it may come from the hospital or it may come from the Health Ministry," he said in an interview. "But there is a resistance to it (by treating doctors) and it does create some ill will."

Ontario Health Minister Elizabeth Witmer said she's concerned by the findings and will do what's required to rectify the situation.

That will include pumping more money into cardiac services to shorten waiting listes and reduce the demand for preferential treatment, she said.

"What we hope to achieve is equitable access for all people," said Witmer in an interview.

"Everybody needs to be getting the care that is required within an acceptable period of time."

Ontario's Cardiac Care Network which oversees the heart surgery, will now look more closely at the problem, siad Network spokesman David Garlin.

The survey got responses from almost 800 doctors and health administrators. They were asked, from their own experience, whether certain types of patients get preferential treatment such as faster service, more frequent care, or a choice of specialists.

Other MDs were mentioned by almost 95 percent of the respondents, followed by publice figures such as athletes, entertainers, and media personalities (85 percent), politicians (83 percent), hospital board members (78 percent), the heart doctor's own family or friends (76 percent), hospital donors (58 percent), executives (53 percent), and religious anthorities (36 percent).


The following sign is posted outside of the Cleary Auditorium in Windsor, Ontario (June 9, 1999). It gives details on a line up procedure used by Ticket Master to stop the practice of overnight lineups. Two of the employees said that one of the other major effects is that "scalpers" are discouraged because they cannot guarantee one of the first few spots by showing up ten hours early. One reason is that those who arrive first are not necessarily those who enter first. This sometimes results in threats and verbal abuse against the ticket sellers.


For your safety and convenience, this ticket center will be using a random number line-up procedure for all first day sales.

This procedure is a fair and equitable method that provides each customer with an opportunity to be first in line without the need for long hours of waiting in line or camping over night.

One half to one hour before tickets go on sale, random numbers will be distributed at the designated entrance. Once all the numbers have been distributed, the line order will be announced and the line will form accordingly.

Individuals arriving after the line is formed will line up and be sold tickets after those with numbers depending on ticket availability.

A number does not guarantee you a ticket, only a place in line.

Doctors Double in Bid to Halve Waiting Time

from The Windsor Star, June 29, 2000, page A3
article by Brian Cross, Star Health/Sciences Reporter

The terrible waits of six or more hours at Hoetle Dieu Grace Hospital's emergency should be cut in half starting in September.

Thanks to an innovative contract worked out between the hospital's board and the emergency department doctors, two doctors instead of one will be working during the busiest eight hours each day, from 3 to 11 p.m.

"I believe at the end of the year there will be fewer and fewer people complaining about waiting five or six hours," said board member Antonio DeLuca, who suggested double shifting more than a year ago.

It's taken this long to recruit enough new ER doctors and work out an agreement that provides a salary like compensation instead of the current fee-for-service OHIP payment that discourages doctors from wanting to double up. The new system starts up in September.

Right now, waits at peak hours are long, sometimes more than six hours, said John Greenaway, the hospital's chief of staff. "Our patients don't like that, our staff doesn't like that , and our board doesn't like that."

He said emergency doctors are anxious to start the new system, because they too are frustrated with the long waits patients must endure.

"I'm (hoping) the wait will be cut in half or better, during the busy times of the day," said Greenaway.

But the system doesn't come without financial risk to the hospital. What it's doing is paying the 10 physicians about $2 million, and then recouping the money by keeping the OHIP fees of $39 per visit. Currently, the emergency sees about 43,000 visits a year - that would add up to only $1.7 million. The hospital is hoping that by improving service, it will attract more patients. The break even point for the hospital is 52,000 visits.

Currently between 3,000 and 4,000 patients get frustrated from waiting and walk out of the emergency room each year. Just keeping them from leaving would bring the hospital $100,000.

"We should not have to do this, but unfortunately, the OHIP fee schedule works against us," said Gerry Trottier, the board's finance committee chairman.