Gatineau municipal website latest to experience tech issues in the region

·2 min read
The cities of Gatineau and Ottawa, as well as the Ottawa Student Transport Authority have all experienced issues with their online servers this month. (Jenny Kane/The Associated Press - image credit)
The cities of Gatineau and Ottawa, as well as the Ottawa Student Transport Authority have all experienced issues with their online servers this month. (Jenny Kane/The Associated Press - image credit)

Registration for Gatineau's fall recreational programming, which was supposed to be available earlier this week, has been put on hold after technical issues plagued the city's website Monday.

Several parents attempting to sign their children up for swimming lessons said they were unable to do so, including Elsa Valliet. When she went to register her children, the website itself froze, delayed loading for over an hour and then crashed.

Valliet said it's not a new issue.

"There is a lot of [people] who want to get involved in these courses and they aren't able to subscribe and the system is not working years after years," she said.

Gatineau officials announced they would be moving registration to the evening of Sept. 7.

The city's website problems are the most recent example of online municipal services in the region experiencing technical issues.

Ottawa's Student Transportation Authority parent portal was still down Tuesday after it crashed Monday evening as parents tried to plan for their children's rides for the upcoming school year. It was working Wednesday.

Earlier this month, the City of Ottawa promised a new online registration system for recreational programs like swimming because parents have been dealing with a slow and often malfunctioning city web portal.

Issues are avoidable: tech analyst

Registration portals can be outsourced, which means any glitches would be external or if they're hosted in-house, it's possible municipalities and organizations continue to underestimate the level of traffic coming to their websites, said technology analyst Ritesh Kotak.

"I can see why parents are extremely frustrated, and organizations and individuals and elected officials because this can be avoided," he said.

Kotak said municipalities and organizations need to rethink their online systems and contingency plans when things fail. They should have several backup servers to avoid disruptions, especially during times when websites might experience high traffic.

Having all your eggs in one basket, as was the case with the recent nationwide Rogers outage, can lead to serious problems, said Kotak.

"When something does go down, it creates frustration because A, you got to figure out what the problem is and B, you got to get systems restored, which can be timely and expensive."