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No, Canada’s Immigration Website Isn’t Being Bogged Down By Americans Fleeing Trump

Turns out the delay was just a glitch. But, Google searches of "Move to Canada" reached an all time high in the wake of Super Tuesday.
Photo by Andrew Harnik/AP

In the wake of another batch of stunning victories by Donald Trump in the Republican primaries, the internet turned its attention to Canada's suspiciously malfunctioning immigration website.

"You may experience delays while using the website," Canada's citizenship and immigration portal warned as the US primary results continued to roll in. "We are working to resolve this issue. Thank you for your patience."


Various websites took that as possible evidence that the anti-Trump masses were looking for an escape plan.

But in this case, the problem — which persisted into Wednesday — had nothing to do with a flood of Americans clamoring to get into Canada. It was just a glitch, people.

"The delays being experienced on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website are a result of an internal technical issue which is at times resulting in slow response times for clients accessing the website and at other times in the website not being accessible," Remi Lariviere, a spokesperson with the department told VICE News.

"We have been working to resolve the issue for a number of weeks, and it is not the result of website visit volumes or external factors."

Liberal-minded Americans routinely threaten to pack their bags and move north whenever an election seems to be going in the opposite direction of their choosing. Last month, even, a tongue-in-cheek website from Cape Breton Island, on Canada's east coast, welcomed Americans looking to "get the hell out" of there if Trump ascends to power — and it has been wildly popular.

Toronto city councillor Norm Kelly also encouraged the trend, directing his 273,000 Twitter followers to the IRCC website after the results came in on Tuesday.

To all my American followers tweeting at me tonight, here's the link: — Norm Kelly (@norm)March 2, 2016

Still, it's impossible to ignore the fear and anxiety that is clearly building south of the Canadian border.


On Super Tuesday, searches for "How to Move to Canada" on Google spiked in the evening by 350 percent. Around midnight, it had shot up more than 1,000 percent.

Searches for 'how can I move to Canada' on Google have spiked +350% in the past four hours — Simon Rogers (@smfrogers)March 2, 2016

By Wednesday, Google said the search term "Move to Canada" was the highest it had ever been in Google history.

Searches for 'Move to Canada' are higher than at any time in Google history — GoogleTrends (@GoogleTrends)March 2, 2016

The last time a peak came close was in November 2004, when George W. Bush won a second term in office.

Back then, Canadian immigration officials said the number of citizens visiting their website shot up six fold.

Tamara Khandaker contributed reporting.