Canada’s tax collection agency has lost telephone service. The country’s largest airline, Air Canada, has reported technical problems at call centers. Even the Canadian telecommunications regulator said his telephone lines were affected.
In the city of Winnipeg, police asked Rogers users who need to dial 911 to try to find landlines or phones on another network in an emergency.
Rogers Communications said late Friday that it had “made significant progress” toward restoring service, but could not say when the networks would fully recover.
“Many of our wireless customers are starting to see services return,” company president Tony Staffieri said in the statement. “I sincerely apologize for this service disruption and the impact it is having on people from coast to coast.”
This was the second outage at the supplier in just over a year. Critics pointed to Friday’s outages as proof that there should be more competition in Canada’s telecommunications industry. Rogers, which has more than 11 million wireless subscribers, is one of the three companies that dominate the market in Canada.
Canada’s Minister of Industry, François-Philippe Champagne, described the situation as “unacceptable” and said overnight that he had conveyed to the CEO of Rogers “the frustration of millions of Canadians.
With government services including the passport office failing, Conservative Party lawmaker Michelle Rempel Garner said the latest outage showed potential “national vulnerability” due to limited competition.
Gordon Barton, who was attending a music festival over the weekend, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. that he had deposited money to spend money with his card but could no longer use it.
“But maybe that’s not a bad thing,” he joked. “I mean, I don’t think a cash-only system is the answer,” he added, “but it’s scary how quickly things can go downhill.”
The disruption also prompted a health care network in Toronto to ask doctors who were on call Friday to “physically come to the hospital for the shift.”
Meanwhile, at a venue in the city, disappointed crowds lingered outside after a concert by The Weeknd was postponed at the last minute due to the blackout.
“I’m crushed and heartbroken,” the Canadian singer tweeted Friday night. “I’ve been on site all day, but it’s not up to us because of the Rogers outage.”