Consumer Group Calls for Public Inquiry into Rogers Outage

Opposition parties, consumer advocacy groups, and the Canadian public are demanding that the Liberal government and the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) launch a formal investigation into the Rogers outage that left millions without phone and internet access on Friday — reports the National Post.

Rogers’ internet and wireless networks went down in the early hours of Friday, taking phone service, internet access, banking networks, call centres, government portals, and more across Canada with them.

Wireless services started recovering more than 24 hours later, but after-effects are expected to last longer.

“We do not believe that we are required to justify the seriousness of the disruption faced by consumers and citizens regarding the present outage, which is manifest,” the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) said in a letter to the CRTC. The outage even left the CRTC’s phone lines dead.

Passport offices, among several other government branches and services, were affected by the blackout. Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner called for an emergency Parliamentary committee meeting to look into what caused it.

“Given the critical infrastructure that’s affected, and that the CRTC itself is affected, the cause of the Rogers outage should be immediately explained,” she said.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said on Friday that the Rogers service outage “highlights the dangers of our monopolized industry.” Rogers is currently trying to convince the Canadian government and the Competition Bureau to let it take over Shaw Communications, the country’s fourth-largest telecom.

Singh also dug into the incumbent government for its role in nurturing the telecom industry’s current landscape. “Emergency services are inaccessible. Interac and Visa networks are down. These are the consequences of a Liberal (government) that is fixated on protecting the profits of telecoms giants.”

The outage also left those coming into Canada unable to complete their ArriveCAN submissions. The app itself was still working, but the Canada Border Services Agency had to switch to using the Traveller Contact Information Form to collect travellers’ information instead of online submissions via ArriveCAN.

Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne said in a Friday statement that his office was monitoring the situation closely and had “been in contact with the company” over the issue.

Once wireless services started coming back online, Rogers CEO Tony Staffieri apologized for the downtime.

On Saturday morning, Rogers said services were now restored for most users, but 100% uptime will be delayed.