A non-responsive, crashing website greeted thousands of British Columbians as they rushed to apply for the government’s recovery benefit.
Applications for the BC Recovery Benefit opened online at 8:30 a.m. PST. Shortly thereafter, users reported being unable to access the website and issues completing the online form.
BC Liberal Finance Critic Mike Bernier raised concerns about the website’s capacity in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday.
“As I think a lot of public knows, when they opened up the system for parks reservations, how the system crashed,” Bernier said.
“We promised to get this money out by Christmas…is there a guarantee from the minister that we’re not going to have any technological issues tomorrow when this rolls out?”
Finance Minister Selina Robinson responded that the system had been tested by staff and extra server capacity had been acquired to deal with high volumes.
Earlier in the day, she also urged all British Columbians who are eligible to apply online.
“It will be the fastest, most efficient way to access these supports,” Robinson said.
“And then starting next week, we’ll have telephone applications available.”
Victoria Buzz staff personally attempted to complete applications through the online portal Friday morning.
One application took 20 minutes, a second took 40 minutes, and a third could not be completed in over an hour due to the website crashing.
In a tweet, the BC Government said they were experiencing an “extremely high” volume of applications and suggested that people consider waiting to apply.
Hi, Shienara. Here's the link. While people are getting through, the site is feeling the pressure of extremely high volume at the moment. We recommend waiting.https://t.co/4JqNu2wQNm
— BC Government News (@BCGovNews) December 18, 2020
The province says they estimate 3.7 million British Columbians are eligible for the benefit, which offers payments of up to $1,000 to families and $500 to individuals depending on household income.
Currently, the website is the only way to apply for the BC Recovery Benefit.
Phone applications will open on December 21st at 1-833-882-0020, Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.