A security guard confirmed what a Twitter tipster had said the day before: xtra.ca was indeed blocked on all city hall computers.
But after raising the issue on April 20 with city staff, the IT department quickly put the wheels in motion to unblock the site manually.
“Steps have been taken to unblock xtra.ca, and the city’s chief information officer advises that this should be complete by early this evening,” said city hall communications advisor Leisa Odlum in an email sent to Xtra.
The problem, she said, can likely be blamed on regular internet service provider updates. Xtra.ca wasn’t originally blocked by city hall, but a software update – at some point over the past six years – may have locked it out.
“Like all large organizations, especially public sector organizations, the City of Toronto relies on a service provider to check and classify all external websites,” she stated. “This is to protect our IT assets against damaging viruses.”
“When this is brought to our attention, as was the case early this week, steps are taken to request that the service provider manually unblock the site. This takes time, unfortunately, in some cases.”
Odlum was not available for an interview before Easter weekend, so it is not known if the website has been unblocked yet.