Passport offices among government departments affected by Rogers outage

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Cellular and Internet service from Rogers has been down since Friday morning

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NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said Friday that the Rogers service outage “highlights the dangers of our monopolized industry”, as critics called on the government to investigate the outage that left millions of Canadians without Internet or telephone service.

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As of press time Friday afternoon, the service had been down for more than 12 hours, with no indication of when the issue would be resolved. Rogers has wireless customers across the country and Internet subscribers in Ontario, Newfoundland and New Brunswick. The outage also meant that many federal government call centers were unavailable on Friday. Debit payment services across the country were also affected.

The Public Interest Advocacy Center was quick to call on Canada’s telecommunications and broadcasting regulator to hold an immediate public inquiry.

“We do not believe we are required to justify the severity of the disruption facing consumers and citizens regarding the current outage, which is evident,” PIAC said in a letter to the CRTC. The regulator was also feeling the effects, tweeting that its phone lines were affected.

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Tory MP Michelle Rempel Garner said an emergency parliamentary committee meeting should be held as soon as possible. “Given the critical infrastructure that is impacted and the fact that the CRTC itself is impacted, the cause of Rogers’ outage should be immediately explained,” she said.

“Over the years, many people in my community have expressed concerns about the high costs of cellphone and wireless services due to the limited competition imposed by Canada’s current regulatory structure. Today’s outage underscores the potential additional risks of Canada’s current regulatory approach,” she said.

Singh, too, took on telecommunications policy. “Emergency services are inaccessible. The Interac and Visa networks are down. These are the consequences of a liberal (government) that is determined to protect the profits of the telecom giants,” he said.

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Rogers is one of the big three wireless service providers in Canada. It is in the process of trying to win regulatory approval from the Competition Bureau and the government to buy fellow telecom big Shaw for $26 billion, a move that would expand its wireline network footprint in the West. canadian.

Innovation Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said in a statement that he was aware of the outage and that “his team has been in contact with the company”.

“We expressed how important it is that this matter be resolved as soon as possible and that the company provide prompt and clear communication directly to those affected,” he said.

“We will continue to monitor the situation closely and use all the tools at our disposal to ensure that Canadians stay connected and that the company meets the high standards that Canadians deserve.”

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The Canadian Press reported that the Canadian Center for Cyber ​​Security also offered help to Rogers. Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair also said Government Operations Center officials “have engaged with Rogers and are monitoring any impact this outage may have on emergency services across Canada.”

Canada’s overwhelmed passport offices were among the government services affected on Friday, as Service Canada warned the outage “affects some call centers and offices, including passport offices.”

Passport offices and airports across the country have seen long lines and delays in recent weeks as more Canadians start traveling again after two years of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Service Canada said on its website that call centers for passport services were unavailable, as well as call centers for Service Canada itself and Employment and Social Development Canada. Those who have tried to call the government about Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan or Old Age Security, among other services, have also been unlucky.

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Phones for other government departments were also down, including at the Canada Revenue Agency, which said its phone services were “unavailable.”

Meanwhile, the Canada Border Services Agency noted that due to the outage, “travellers may not be able to complete their ArriveCAN submission”. A spokesperson clarified that the app itself was not affected. Anyone entering the country must use ArriveCan before arriving in Canada.

“For the duration of the outage, affected travelers are required to submit their information using the Traveler Details Form, to be completed prior to arrival at the border if they are unable to submit via ArriveCAN,” a tweeted the CBSA in the early afternoon.

“Hard copies of a traveler’s proof of vaccinations, as well as their government-issued documents, will be required.”

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