Rogers outage: House committee holding special meeting

The House of Commons Industry and Technology committee will hold a special meeting on Friday to discuss undertaking a study on the Rogers outage.

The emergency summer hearing is the result of Liberal, Conservative, and NDP MPs all writing to the committee’s chair asking for a meeting to address the network failure last Friday, which impacted millions of households and businesses alike.

Rogers says the “network system failure” was triggered by a maintenance update to the core network, which caused routers to malfunction.

While the company confirmed on Saturday most of its system was restored to the vast majority of customers, some are still reporting problems.

Liberal MP and committee member Nathaniel Erskine-Smith tweeted out a letter he and four other Liberal MPs signed, calling for an urgent meeting “so that Canadians can get vital answers to the many timely questions raised a result of these services outages.”

Erskine-Smith said that in his view, it’s important for members to hear from Rogers to understand how the outage happened and how to prevent it from happening again.

“We’ve worked well together across party lines before and we can do the same here,” he said.

At the afternoon meeting, MPs will discuss the potential of taking up a full study of the issue, including deliberating over who they’d like to call to testify, as well as what the scope and timeline would be for this inquiry given it would be taking place while the House of Commons is on a summer hiatus.

The committee will need to adopt a motion in order to hold further hearings. If a deeper study is agreed upon, any meeting with witnesses would likely have to take place beginning the week of July 25 because of a pre-arranged critical maintenance shutdown that House administration has said is scheduled to last until July 22.

Industry minister Francois-Philippe Champagne met with the CEO of Rogers and the heads of other telecommunications service providers on Monday to discuss the issue.

During the meeting, he tasked the group with developing a formal agreement to pool resources, guarantee emergency roaming, and come up with a communications plan to better inform Canadians during crises.

He also said the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) would be investigating the outage.

Ian Scott, chairperson and CEO of the CRTC said in a statement Tuesday that he’s ordered Rogers to provide a “detailed account” as to why and how this event happened.

“Events of this magnitude paralysing portions of our country’s economy and jeopardizing the safety of Canadians are simply unacceptable. Once we are satisfied with Rogers’ response to our questions, we will determine what additional measures need to be taken,” the statement reads.

The company has until July 22 to provide its responses.

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