Politics

MPs to question industry minister about nationwide Rogers internet outage

Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne will appear before a parliamentary committee this month to answer questions about the recent nationwide Rogers service outage that left millions offline and affected some critical services.

Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne will appear before committee of MPs to answer questions

A man at a podium
Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne will appear before a committee of MPs before the end of the month to discuss the causes and effects of the Rogers internet outage. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne will appear before a parliamentary committee this month to answer questions about the recent nationwide Rogers service outage that left millions offline and affected some critical services.

MPs on the industry and technology committee voted Friday to devote at least two days of study before the end of July to the Rogers outage, which started on Friday, July 8 and stretched into the weekend.

Also appearing before the committee will be representatives of the CRTC, Canada's broadcasting regulator, and Rogers Communications Inc. Rogers can expect pointed questions about the time it took to notify its customers of the outage.

The committee will study the causes of the disruption and its impact on families, consumers and businesses. It will look into its impact on health-care services, law enforcement and the financial sector.

The committee also will explore possible best practices that would help prevent or mitigate outages in the future. 

Rogers blamed the outage on a network system failure following a maintenance update in its core network. Rogers now says that it will credit its customers for five days of service to compensate for the disruption.

It was the second time in as many years that Rogers had been hit by a major outage. The company's wireless and cable networks went down in a similar fashion in April 2021. At the time, Rogers blamed a software update at one of its equipment suppliers.

In 2021, the company offered customers rebates for their services, which ended up working out to a few dollars per customer. Rogers says it provides services to around 11.3 million subscribers in the Canadian wireless market and reported a quarterly net income last January of $405 million.

CFIB wants free month of service in compensation

According to Rogers' residential service agreement, if an outage lasts longer than four hours, customers are entitled to a day's credit to their accounts for each service they have.

Dan Kelly, head of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, said Monday business owners — still struggling to recover from the damage done by the pandemic — should be given a free month of Rogers service to make up for the outage.

"There are businesses in Canada that have been closed down for over 400 days … over the last two years, and so every single day of sales is absolutely critical in this recovery period," he told The Canadian Press.

"It was just brutal ... and far more than an inconvenience. This was cutting into very limited income at a very critical period."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Peter Zimonjic

Senior writer

Peter Zimonjic is a senior writer for CBC News. He has worked as a reporter and columnist in London, England, for the Daily Mail, Sunday Times and Daily Telegraph and in Canada for Sun Media and the Ottawa Citizen. He is the author of Into The Darkness: An Account of 7/7, published by Random House.

With files from the CBC's Mark Gollom

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