The Ontario Ministry of Labour is reviewing its backup and recovery policies following a recent server failure that wiped out countless e-mail records.

Any e-mail sent to the ministry from 9 p.m. Aug. 16 to 6 a.m. Aug. 18 was affected, according to information released by the ministry.


Brittain, head of IT services for the Economics and Business Cluster, wasn’t available for interviews, but explained in an e-mail that “”the failure was caused by two hard drives failing simultaneously in a RAID5 configuration that was fault tolerant for a single drive failure.

“”This occurred during the regular nightly backup window. The failure affected both the operating system and data partition, which meant loss of the entire server,”” he wrote.

The ministry’s e-mail infrastructure uses a Microsoft Exchange server using dual processors. Brittain added that a replacement server had to be built to expedite data recovery.

The failure affected every Ministry of Labour office in Ontario as well as the Ontario Labour Relations Board, the Office of the Employer Adviser, the Office of the Worker Advisor, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, the Grievance Settlement Board, the Pay Equity Commission, the Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal and the Jobs Protection Office. The security of sensitive or confidential data that was e-mailed to the affected bodies has not been compromised, according to the ministry. However, some of those e-mails were sent in response to job postings. As a result, job application deadlines were extended to Sept. 1.

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