At 08:30 February 16, 2016, Quebec planned to begin receiving 2,800 new online applications. But for the second time in a month, the government issued a public statement delaying the launch, indefinitely, blaming the delay on a “technical issue”.
Users observed the Quebec online portal crashing at its opening and displaying an error message stating “due to a keen interest for Quebec and high traffic, the Mon project Québec website is down for the moment”. More than 42,000 intending applicants have registered a user profile, a pre-requisite to submit an application. The problem however extends much further than a technical glitch.
It appears the Quebec government has overlooked many considerations in the launch of its online program. First, the online system was initially conceived to permit a maximum of only 100 simultaneous users and recently raised to 500 users to connect at the same time. But traffic can readily be estimated to be far greater than the current bank of registered users, which at 42,000 is 84 times more than its user capacity of 500. Users typically open a volume of web browsers in order to submit their application using a cascading process. If one submission using an open browser fails, users must quickly use the next web browser. This results in an unknown quantity of potential submissions for each of the 42,000 users which dwarfs its capacity of 500 simultaneous users.
Perhaps a more telling reason for recent difficulties is the inefficient planning of its online platform. One example of faulty planning that restricts its online user capacity is the large education data base the Quebec government has loaded onto its platform. The user registration process includes a series of drop down menus corresponding to most common degree types from literally thousands of internationally universities and colleges from which registrants must select. However this does not serve any practical purpose at this early stage, as registrants must still submit their foreign education documentation during the application process which undergoes equivalency assessment. One would expect that by building a data base that heavily draws on web site capacity, the issue of foreign education equivalency could be definitively confirmed. There is no benefit to designing a web site with such functionality that otherwise prevents access to many thousands of simultaneous users.
The federal government appears to have successfully built its online system the launch last year of its Express Entry Immigration portal with a seamless education assessment. One wonders however whether Quebec authorities engaged in any meaningful consultation process with the federal government and similar international programs that successfully manage much larger online immigration portals using cloud based scaling servers.
Authorities have confirmed the Québec Ministère will issue a 24h notice to applicants before reopening the program. It should consider reverting back to a paper application system which it recently terminated, until it resolves its new online application project.
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