After a "unacceptable" network outage, the minister of industry will meet with the CEO of Rogers.
On Friday, a large part of Canada couldn't get online because of an outage.
Canada's industry minister will meet with the head of Rogers Communications after a massive outage shut down the company's network and messed up a number of important services, his office said Sunday, even though some customers were still having problems with their service.
Francois-Philippe Champagne's office said in a statement that he plans to meet with Tony Staffieri and other leaders in the telecom industry to talk about how important it is to improve "the reliability of networks across Canada."
In a statement, Champagne said that the widespread service outage last week, which lasted at least 15 hours and cut off access to many law enforcement, health care, and banking services, was "unacceptable." He also said that he had told Staffieri about his feelings on the matter.
"These services are essential to the daily lives of Canadians, and we expect our telecom industry to meet the highest standards that Canadians deserve," the statement said.
Staffieri said in a statement on Saturday that Friday's widespread outage was caused by a network system failure after an update for maintenance. The "vast majority" of customers were back online, Staffieri said.
In the meantime, a consumer group asked the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in a formal letter to look into what happened.
John Lawford, the executive director of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, said that the CRTC would be able to get information and documents from Rogers that the public couldn't see. The CRTC would also be able to tell Rogers how to prevent future outages.
"The fact that this happened during what seemed to be routine maintenance makes it very suspicious," Lawford told CBC News Network on Sunday. "You would hope that they would do their maintenance in a way that wouldn't put the whole network at risk."
His group also asked the CRTC to think about giving all telecommunications providers new responsibilities in terms of how they talk to their customers, how they pay them, and how they make sure people can still use the 911 system if there is an outage.
"Wouldn't it be great if, at the end of this, the CRTC gave the companies a plan that said, 'If you have an outage, you can borrow some of the capacity of another network to keep essential services running?'" Lawford said.
There are still problems.
Sunday, a lot of customers were still having problems with service. One of them, Paul Platt of Courtice, Ontario, said his home wireless network was down for more than 48 hours before it was fixed.
Platt said that a lot of the things in his house, like some lights, locks, and smoke detectors, need to be connected to the internet to work.
He said, "Nothing in my house worked at all."
Platt said he checked on his elderly neighbors, one of whom has Parkinson's disease and another of whom just had heart surgery, every few hours over the weekend, because they also use Rogers service and wouldn't be able to call 911 if they needed to.
He said, "That's where that's not OK."
Platt said he tried to get in touch with Rogers staff through support lines and social media many times but was unable to do so.
He said he's upset that Rogers isn't getting in touch with customers who are still having problems and that Staffieri said the company's network and systems are "close to fully operational" on Saturday.
Platt, who has worked in IT his whole life, said, "That's the most frustrating thing for me." "I know that things happen and that they are often very complicated. But there is no feedback to the customers at all, and customers who are still having problems can't get any help."
The Canadian Press asked Rogers to say something about the continued outages, but the company refused. Instead, it pointed to Staffieri's previous statement, in which he said that technical teams are still watching for "any remaining intermittent issues."
When asked for a comment on the meeting with Champagne, the company didn't give one right away.
Downdetector, a website that keeps track of outages, showed that on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, a lot more people than usual reported problems with Rogers' service.
At 5 p.m. on Saturday, there were more than 2,200 reports of outages on the site. This was a big jump from the usual number of 38 reports at that time. At 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, there were 1,479 reports, compared to 18 at the start of the week.
Montreal, Toronto, and Mississauga, Ont., as well as London and Kitchener, Ont., were among the cities with the most reports on the website. Most of the reports were about problems with Rogers' landline internet.