Canadian immigration website crash started hours before Trump victory, documents show
2017/03/03 Leave a comment
Well, that destroys one of the smug Canadian narratives!
An immigration website that was supposedly overwhelmed by Americans wanting to flee to Canada because of a Trump presidency was more likely brought down by foreigners scrambling to get a basic travel document before a deadline.
CBC News has learned that the website for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada was already in trouble hours before Donald Trump’s victory became clear on Nov. 8, the day of the U.S. presidential election.
That’s because foreign travellers faced a Nov. 10 deadline to obtain so-called “electronic travel authorizations” online before they could fly into Canada. They apparently flooded the website before that deadline to pay $7 online for electronic delivery of the mandatory travel documents, known as eTAs.
The rush seemed to catch Canada’s immigration officials off guard. By about 2 p.m. ET on Nov. 8 — even as Americans were still casting their ballots — the high volume of eTA traffic left the main website “degraded” with “temporary outages.”
Technicians with Shared Services Canada were alerted to the problem, but didn’t act immediately. It eventually took more than 32 hours to repair the website, by doubling the number of servers to six and increasing the processing capacity. The fix came less than two hours before the Nov.10 eTA deadline, likely frustrating eTA applicants for more than a day.
CBC News obtained internal reports and emails, through the Access to Information Act. They undermine the official version that the website “started to experience difficulties” only at 11 p.m. ET, when Trump’s victory had become clear.
“It looks like the eTA is starting to experience significant volumes a few days earlier than planned,” said a Shared Services Canada official, in an email written before any U.S. polling stations had even closed.
“The surge to the site seems to have happened sooner than planned,” she repeated in a later email.
Although Shared Services Canada technicians were officially told about the web troubles at about 2 p.m. on Nov. 8, they did little to resolve the problems that afternoon.