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Weblog Entry

Poor Planning

April 29, 2003

Long lauded in the list of benefits in living in Canada is the so–called “free healthcare” we enjoy. Any dissertation on how ‘free’ or even ‘useful’ it currently is will be left as an exercise for the reader, but here’s why I bring it up.

The Province of British Columbia is overhauling their system, and long story short you have to register your income with them by April 31st, 2003. As in Thursday. I know this because our benefits provider at the day job has just informed us. We were given a URL and a phone number, both of which enable us to register. Given that it’s crunch time, you’d expect both to be busy, right?

It’s worse. The phone number has been a busy signal for two days. The web site is spotty, and even when you DO get through, you have at least 4 steps to the other side. This might be an inconvenience, if hitting Refresh a bunch of times were to do the trick, but it doesn’t. Some asinine Javascript functions are running to make sure you can’t use the back or forward buttons. When a click of the “next” button induces a “Page cannot be found” error, it means you have to start all over again.

My favorite useless message so far has been “This page can’t be displayed due to an internal error. The server may be busy, or you may have to adjust your settings.” No mention, naturally, of how the settings should be adjusted.

This is terribly poor planning. A system that is literally unusable three days before a deadline effectively means the deadline passed three days early. Here’s hoping the Ministry graciously extends the deadline, since they completely failed to account for the rush before the end of the month.


Reader Comments

p says:
April 29, 02h

what’s also funny is there isn’t a 31st day in april. the 30th is the last day of this month ;)

Dave S. says:
April 29, 03h

Not in my world, man… not in my world.

Further investigation seems to reveal that May 1st isn’t a deadline, per se, rather an initialization date. Seemingly everyone is still covered afterward, so it begs the question — why the rush? Wires are crossing somewhere.

May 10, 12h

Dave,

I am also a BC boy. I am currently ignoring this call to re-register. I suppose it helps that, at 30, I’m still enjoying perfect health. I pay the premiums, but I’m in no hurry to file any more info.

Also, the Liberal gov’t recently sent me a request for more info pertaining to PST. I am a small business person, and now they want to collect, among other things, my GST number. They claim that they are “improving the system”– and it will translate to making things easier for me. What a fraud!

It seems to me an obvious assumption that they want to collect GST data to cross-referece against their PST data to make sure that no one is cheating somehow. Which is fine– I understand how Big Gov’t = Big Brother. But hey, I collect PST from all of my clients on their behalf, and submit it every 4 months on time to advoid penalty. I resent having to fill out another form by another deadline and surrendering my private information while being told that it is to help me! Ha.

Thanks for the space to rant!