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Service Canada reopens job bank after two-week shutdown Add to ...

As quietly as it was shut down two weeks ago, Service Canada’s national job bank has reopened.

A “technical difficulty” was the only official reason given for the shutdown of the site on Feb. 17 by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, which runs the site. A spokesperson told The Globe and Mail “a limited but serious security issue was identified on job bank and officials proactively shut the site down to resolve the problem. Five employer accounts were affected out of the over 135,000 in the system. Affected employers as well as the Office of the Privacy Commissioner were contacted immediately.”

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Technicians worked around the clock to install security upgrades and it came back on line with limited listings on the weekend, the spokesperson said. “We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused to Canadian job seekers and employers,” she said.

By Monday morning, there were a total of 28,162 jobs posted on the site, indicating it was back in full operation. A warning in red on the main search page read: “Valid or legitimate Job Bank ads will not ask for any banking or personal information or for any money deposits. If you receive such a request, please contact us.”

For Niagara region job seeker Lynn Elliott, it was a relief that the site was back up after a frustrating two weeks in her search for an office administration position. “I am on a program with the local employment centre and part of the program is that we must submit jobs for them to follow up for us. It’s hard enough to find a job and with the job bank down it was even harder. Since it has been down, I’ve used other sites but they don't seem to be as good.”

However, because of the growth of alternative free sites, the shutdown may have had less impact on job seekers and potential employers than it might have a couple of years ago said Julie Labrie, vice-president of operations for Blue Sky Personnel Solutions Service in Toronto, which recruits for entry and mid-level and temporary staffing. She said her business was not seriously affected by the shutdown because the company also uses other online job boards such as Kijiji and Craig’s List.

“The advantage of the job bank is that it is free and it gives us a large number of candidates, particularly for temporary and part-time positions. Because one of our specialties is bilingual jobs, we found it was a good source of candidates because it is national,” she said. ”However, I do find it somewhat limiting because it has preset limits on choices of job titles and the fact that there was a two-day approvals process before we could get a list of candidates,” she added

Her company found that other sites and social media offer blank templates and unlimited words, “so as a recruiter I can upload any job description and get responses in real time, at no cost, with minimal effort. That is a combination that is hard to beat.”

In order to stay relevant, Julie Cole, co-founder of Hamilton-based children’s label company Mabel’s Labels Inc, suggested that Service Canada be more open and interactive with job bank users. “We do rely on this service, as well as some others, and it has been a reliable resource in the past.”

The company had posted an opening for a shipper-receiver on the site. “It was frustrating to repeatedly try, and see the site was down. It would have been really helpful if they had posted when they anticipated the site would be back up and running,” she said.

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