Registry services restored
Week-long outage stems from Calgary fire
By: By Ryan Tumilty
| Posted: Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012 06:00 am
Alberta registries and land titles came back online Tuesday after a nearly week-long outage following a fire in Calgary.
Last Wednesday, a fire and electrical explosion at the Shaw Court building in Calgary put several Alberta government databases out of order.
Initially, the outage affected several government systems, including the system for high school transcripts, AHS email and the systems for hunting and fishing licenses. Those systems along with many others had mostly been brought back before last weekend, but Alberta registries and land titles were the last to come back online.
That left anyone wanting to register a vehicle, pay a fine or renew their driver’s licence out of luck until Tuesday morning when the systems returned.
Service Alberta Minister Manmeet Bhullar said with service restored he will now look to see what can be done to improve the system.
“I wish the systems were up a little sooner and I will commence work to see that in the event these specific systems go down again we can get them operational sooner.”
The fire triggered the building’s sprinkler systems, causing water to spread throughout the building. Bhullar said that made it difficult for the company managing the government’s systems to get them back online.
“A significant hurdle was IBM getting back into the building, it took them well over 24 hours to really be able to get back into the building and I think even longer to get power supply back.”
The government had to use back-up tapes and fly them to the back-up data centre in Markham, Ont., to get the system back up and running.
Bhullar said outside of the land title and registry service the system performed as the government expected in a catastrophe.
“We had a plan in place that was rehearsed once a year and most services were online with a 48-hour period after the fire and some services took a little bit longer,” he said. “The two programs that did not come up within my expectations of our service provider were land title and registries.”
The information and privacy commissioner is going to investigate the incident, a move Bhullar said he welcomes.
Land title delays
Sam Elias, a local Re/Max realtor, said one of his clients had their new home possession held up on Friday, because of challenges transferring the title.
He said it also held up the listing of some new properties last week. He said realtors have to know the name on a land title so they can match it against their identification before the property is listed.
Elias, who worked in information technology before entering real estate, said he would like to see the government come up with a better back-up system.
“It costs initially a lot of money, but it is well worth it,” he said. “It is like insurance, you only use it once or twice in a life, but when you use it, it is well worth it.”
Bhullar said the government was already in the process of upgrading the land title system, which may now get a more concentrated focus.
“The land title system is in its first year of redevelopment. We have committed money to this initiative already,” he said. “I am going to see if there are ways to expedite that.”