Province keeps MyGovNL contractor after outage, but eyes other options

·2 min read
Digital Government Minister Sarah Stoodley addressed reporters on May 5 about a technical issue that knocked the MyGovNL portal offline. (Mark Quinn/CBC - image credit)
Digital Government Minister Sarah Stoodley addressed reporters on May 5 about a technical issue that knocked the MyGovNL portal offline. (Mark Quinn/CBC - image credit)

The Newfoundland and Labrador government is continuing to use a vendor it blamed for an outage in its MyGovNL system earlier this year — at least for now.

And the province says it has secured tens of thousands of dollars in compensation for what happened in May, when online services like driver's licence and medical care plan renewals were knocked offline.

"My priority is that we have a reliable, stable, secure option for residents in the province to do online transactions," Digital Government Minister Sarah Stoodley said in an interview with CBC News.

"I keep in contact with the technical team here just to make sure things are going OK, and so far they are. We are going to keep a close eye on it, and we are also looking at other options."

MyGovNL experienced technical problems in May, just two months after an external vendor was contracted to host its user interface.

At the time, Stoodley called the outage "unacceptable," but stressed it was not the result of a cyberattack.

In a recent interview, Stoodley said the company "had made some mistakes" when they designed N.L.'s system. "If over a certain number of people attempted to log in at a time, it would take the whole thing down," she said.

In May, Stoodley said the province would be seeking "financial remedies" for what happened.

According to the minister, the province has since negotiated about $60,000 in credits in the wake of the outage — $20,000 for 20 days of system usage back in May, plus another $40,000 or so for a month's worth of service later this year.

CBC
CBC

And while the government is sticking with the contractor for now, they are looking at other alternatives, should the need arise.

"I'm optimistic, cautiously optimistic and hopeful, that we won't have any issues," Stoodley said.

"I certainly couldn't guarantee that, but I'm confident in saying if we had another big issue between now and the end of this year … we would be looking at what our Plan B is and seriously moving down that road."

The first problems logging into the MyGovNL system were reported the morning of May 2.

The system remained offline for a few days, before a queueing system was put in place.

That lasted until May 19, according to Stoodley, when officials were confident that the issues had been resolved.

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