COVID-19: Emergency support cash website crashes under greater-than-expected demand

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Technical roadblocks halted support payment applications from Albertans who are self-isolating during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thousands of eligible business owners and self-employed Albertans had signed up for the provincial benefit by 2 p.m. Wednesday, causing the government’s website to crash on the first day of applications, Premier Kenney said at an afternoon press conference.

“Service Alberta will have it up and running again with expanded capacity, so I just wanted to ask people to be patient as we cope with the overwhelming demand,” said Kenney.

Applying for the provincial benefit was not possible at all for those without an Alberta ID or an up-to-date driver’s licence. Applicants hit a digital wall if their licence was temporary or expired.

The system had been designed to bypass an extra step to get a verification code that takes 10 days, said Brittany Baltimore, press secretary to Labour Minister Jason Copping. She said the government is working to update the system to accept an expired driver’s licence.