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Canada Experiencing Major Nationwide Internet Outage, Impacting Emergency Services and Financial Institutions

Published: July 8, 2022
Rogers Communications said on Friday it was working to resolve network issues that have impacted banks, emergency services and consumers across the country. (Image: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

On June 8, Rogers Communications, one of Canada’s primary internet service providers (ISP), said it was working to resolve network issues that have caused widespread disruptions affecting banks, emergency services and consumers from the province of British Columbia on the west coast to Nova Scotia on the country’s east coast. 

“We are aware of issues currently affecting our networks and our teams are fully engaged to resolve the issue as soon as possible,” the ISP tweeted. 

The outage is largely affecting consumers however police departments in several major cities, including the nation’s capital of Ottawa, are saying emergency 911 services have been impacted. 

The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) said on Friday that some callers may have difficulty reaching emergency services via 911 while police in Toronto, Canada’s sprawling metropolis, said emergency services have been impacted as well. 

Despite the outage, police authorities in Toronto say that their 911 center remains fully operational.

In Vancouver customers attempting to reach emergency services are being told that “if your call fails, try again from a landline or cell phone with another provider,” CTV News reported. 

Financial services severely impacted

Interac, which is used by several Canadian financial institutions to transfer funds, has been severely affected. 

According to CNBC, Toronto-Dominion Bank said it was facing system issues with its Interac e-Transfer service.

The Bank of Montreal said the outage is disrupting all financial institutions, their toll-free numbers as well as transactions.

Rogers services approximately 10 million wireless subscribers and 2.25 million retail internet subscribers, dominating Canada’s wireless industry alongside BCE and Telus Corp. 

Twitter lit up with disgruntled customers with one tweet reading, “This Canada-wide Rogers outage really highlights the dangers of monopolized industries. When one malfunction can put half the country’s economy on pause, we have a big problem.” The tweet quickly garnered over nine thousand likes and over 2,500 retweets. 

The Beaverton, a Canadian news satire site, tweeted, “Rogers offers Canada’s fastest, most reliable outages across the country.” The tweet racked up a whooping 17.7 thousand likes in short order. 

Outage could cost millions

This most recent outage may cost the Canadian economy millions in losses. 

According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Canada’s state-funded media entity, outages on July 13 and Aug. 12, 2019, which affected internet, TV and phone services in the northern city of Yellowknife cost the region an estimated $10 million. 

At the time, businesses couldn’t accept debit or credit card payments forcing many businesses to close early.

Deneen Everett, executive director of the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce, told the CBC at the time, that a single outage for roughly 10 hours resulted in a loss of $4.75 million to the local economy. “Given that we have two outages this year …  we’re looking at almost $10 million in financial impact,” he said. 

While it remains unknown what caused the Rogers outage, the Yellowknife outages were as a result of damage to a fiber optic cable.

Rogers is saying it doesn’t know what has caused the current outage, CTV News reported.