North

Debit services down across all 3 territories, as Rogers reports nationwide outage

Businesses across the North are only accepting cash and credit amid a massive service outage at Rogers.

The outage that began in the early morning hours on Friday is affecting businesses across the North

Northmart in Iqaluit. A Rogers service outage is affecting debit machines across the North, including at Northmart. (David Gunn/CBC)

Business across all three territories are only accepting cash and credit as major telecommunications company Rogers experiences a massive outage. 

"A nationwide telecommunications outage with a network provider … is impacting the availability of some Interac services," a spokesperson for Interac confirmed to CBC News. 

"Debit is currently unavailable online and at checkout. Interac e-Transfer is also widely unavailable, impacting the ability to send and receive payments."

An employee at the Circle K gas station and convenience store in Yellowknife, said the debit machines had been down since 3 a.m. Friday. 

"Some people, they don't have cash and they're very upset," they said. CBC isn't naming the employee because they aren't authorized to speak to the media. 

The Iqaluit airport is one of the many places across the North that can't take debit as the result of a nationwide outage. (Matisse Harvey/ CBC)

The employee said the store has missed out on between $200 and $300 of business as a result of the outage.

An employee at Yellowknife's Barren Ground Coffee said debit has not been working at their cafe, either. Rochdi's Your Independent Grocer in Yellowknife said in a Facebook post Friday that due to the Rogers outage, its debit and credit machines weren't working, so it was only taking cash.

The Northwest Territories Power Corporation said on Facebook that its payment portal was unavailable until further notice, and asked customers to pay bills at its offices with cash.

Despite warnings of ATM's being out-of-service at certain locations across the South, ATM's at banks across Yellowknife appear to be working.

The outage is also affecting the Yukon. A manager at a Whitehorse Tim Hortons said the debit is down. 

The Yukon government issued a travel advisory for the territory Friday. It asked Yukoners and visitors to "seriously consider their travel plans" amid raging wildfires and floods, and added that the "territory has been further challenged by widespread telecommunications interruptions."

In Nunavut, a supervisor at the Northmart said the store has put up signs out front informing people that debit is down and the store will only be accepting credit or cash. 

A sign at Circle K gas station and convenience store in Yellowknife indicates that debit is down. A Circle K supervisor and cashier said Friday morning that the store had missed out on between $200 and $300 of business as a result of the debit outage. (Sidney Cohen/CBC)

Airline Canadian North wrote on Twitter that it is unable to contact passengers through the normal communication channels as a result of the outage. 

The statement said it encouraged travellers to check social media for up to date information. 

Rogers doesn't provide regular phone and internet network services to the North.

Extended coverage is available in certain areas of the N.W.T. and Yukon. 

The Rogers outage began some time in the early hours of Friday morning, with a wide variety of services impacted.

"We are currently experiencing an outage across our wireline and wireless networks and our technical teams are working hard to restore services as quickly as possible," a spokesperson for the company told CBC News Friday.

Technology analyst Ritesh Kotak says he suspects the cause of the outage is "an update gone wrong" in one of Rogers' internal systems.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Luke Carroll

Reporter

Luke Carroll is a journalist with CBC News in Yellowknife who has previously worked in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Ontario. Luke is originally from Brockville, Ont., and moved to Yellowknife in May 2020. He can be reached at luke.carroll@cbc.ca.

With files from Pete Evans and Sidney Cohen

now