OSAP service hit by virus,
By Laura Katsirdakis
As if the power outage last month wasn't annoying enough, some
universities across Ontario have found that it may be the cause
for a delay in delivering Ontario Student Assistance Program
Students at the University of Waterloo faced extra long lines
when picking up their OSAP loans this September. Immediately
following the blackout, administrators at the university found
the OSAP information system was extremely slow, explained Martha
Foulds, financial aid coordinator at Waterloo.
"Our staff was working overtime to offset the delay,"
Foulds said. "Waterloo students expect [OSAP] documents
to be completed on time," she noted, adding she did not
want to disappoint expectations of prompt service.
In addition to the lethargic computer system, non-essential
government employees were not working after the blackout to
conserve energy. Luckily, Foulds explained, OSAP-processing
government employees made requests to the Premier to be considered
"essential," so they could.
"[At Waterloo] we don't have the luxury of a slow summer
to process OSAP because of the co-op system," Foulds explained,
adding with the short period of time, the delay was even more
of an inconvenience at Waterloo.
Western students will not have to worry about delays in OSAP,
said Glen Tigert, director of student financial services. "The
financial office was ahead of schedule by about eight to ten
weeks," he said, adding the delays merely put things back
"The OSAP computer system was not affected by the blackout,"
said Dave Ross, spokesperson for Ontario's ministry of Training,
Colleges and Universities. Ross said there was a disruption
to computer services, but it was caused by the "blasterworm"
virus during the blackout. "This problem was patched
up very quickly and the service was back up within the week,"
As part of the cautionary measures, computer systems that
had a virus were cut off from the OSAP system, Ross explained.
This may have contributed to OSAP delays in some schools.