The blizzard of internet user sessions from south of the Canadian border that temporarily crashed the Canadian Immigration department’s website on U.S. election day became an avalanche after Donald Trump became president-elect, and stayed that way for several days, newly released figures reveal.
After gathering data in response to a request from The Hill Times, the department also revealed that the onslaught of U.S. web access on election day itself, Nov. 8, was more than twice the amount originally stated by the department. That total now tops 249,950 user requests originating from U.S. internet protocol (IP) addresses, compared to the initial tally of about 100,000 provided in the days immediately following the election, data released by the department shows.
After Mr. Trump had delivered his victory speech, and defeated Democrat contender Hillary Clinton had conceded on Nov. 9, the department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada was inundated with more than 740,000 user sessions originating from U.S. IP addresses, the department says.
From the day of the election, until the storm over Mr. Trump’s election began to subside on Nov. 16, the department traffic from U.S. IP addresses eventually totalled 1,837,331 hits.
From Nov. 1 to Nov. 7—the day before voting day—visits from U.S. IP addresses averaged only 43,877 each day, which is roughly the average for American IP visits, per day over the year, according to the department’s explanations of the web phenomenon associated with Mr. Trump’s election.
On Nov. 9, the number of user sessions from U.S. IP addresses was 742,915—nearly half the total user sessions of the 1,611,800 for that day—including Canadian sessions and those associated with other countries.
While releasing the new figures, the department added a note of caution and listed a range of possible explanations that might have been unrelated to Mr. Trump’s surprising and divisive election.
“Please note that the purpose of visits can differ and reach beyond only individuals wishing to immigrate and that those accessing the IRCC website from a U.S. IP address could be American or a number of different nationalities,” a department spokesperson Rémi Larivière said in an email to The Hill Times. “The IRCC website includes a wealth of information on a number of different initiatives and programs, including information on requirements for travel documents, passports, visas [and] joint Canada-U.S. perimeter initiatives.”
One of those initiatives, an expanded “express entry” program for skilled workers in the U.S. who want to come to Canada and perhaps become permanent residents, was announced on Nov. 14 and took effect on Nov. 19.
Meanwhile, a wikiHow.com entry advising Americans “How to Move to Canada,”—which sprouted as Mr. Trump’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination began to grow—has mushroomed to 817,054 views at the time of publication.
An Ipsos poll of U.S. citizens during the primary season found that 19 per cent of respondents said they would consider moving to Canada if Mr. Trump were to win the White House.
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May (Saanich-Gulf Islands, B.C.), an American expatriate who grew up in Cape Breton, said she expects Mr. Trump himself to come to Canada after he settles into the Oval Office, though not for a permanent stay. Ms. May expressed optimism that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Papineau, Que.) will be a good influence.
“I hope Mr. Trudeau is able to create a good working relationship with him and I hope that he is able to push him on climate change every single visit, make it the top issue every single time,” Ms. May told The Hill Times.
On the prospect of a broader American influx, Ms. May said: “If we want to capitalize on getting people to move to Canada now, I think it’s a great idea.”