Minister Meets with Rogers, Bell, Telus and Others to Discuss Hurricane Fiona Outages

Image: Bell

Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, and MPs Kody Blois and Andy Fillmore on Wednesday convened a meeting with executives from Bell, Rogers, Telus, Eastlink, and Xplore to discuss the fallout from Hurricane Fiona in Atlantic Canada.

“We were provided with a situation report on the status of network outages and the companies’ ongoing efforts to restore services in the affected areas,” the government officials said in a statement.

“Although many Canadians experienced services issues, we noted that there was no significant damage to telecom infrastructure and that complete restoration of services is well underway.”

The meeting came after Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston blasted telecom companies over service outages in a statement on Wednesday (via the North Island Gazette). According to Houston, some areas hit by Fiona were still without cellular service over four days after the post-tropical storm made landfall.

Houston called on Minister Champagne to hold telecommunications companies operating in Atlantic Canada accountable for providing information about service outages and restoration efforts.

“We commended the companies for assisting each other during this emergency, as per the recent agreement reached between Canada’s major telecommunications service providers,” Ottawa’s statement continued.

“More importantly, we reminded them of their commitment to transparency in that agreement, which includes providing clear and timely communications to keep Canadians and relevant authorities informed about response and restoration efforts during major network outages.”

Champagne and the other government officials instructed telecom operators to identify and review potential logistical and procedural gaps in their emergency response plans. Furthermore, they asked the companies to work with partners, including utility companies, and improve coordination.

The Big Three (Rogers, Telus, and Bell) previously pledged $50,000 in donations each to provide relief in areas impacted by Hurricane Fiona, along with providing free data and calls to customers.