After four-day technical glitch, DMV works to avoid a repeat

The NWT government is working on a permanent fix after technical problems left residents unable to complete some vehicle registrations for days.

The problem, involving how information is shared between the territory and a central database, lasted from July 5 until July 9.

During that time, the Department of Infrastructure said, driver and motor vehicle services (the DMV) “was unable to process registrations of new vehicles, vehicles that were changing ownership, [and] driver’s licence transfers from other jurisdictions.”


One resident attempting to transfer a vehicle registration, who did not wish to be named, told Cabin Radio: “It was shocking that there’s nothing they can do for people. I asked if they had a form or a note, or a temporary transfer. Nothing.”

The issue relates to what the department called “issues synchronizing data” with a system known as the Interprovincial Records Exchange.

The exchange, administered by the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, allows the country’s provinces and territories to share information about drivers and vehicles.

Created in the late 1980s, by 2017 the system was handling 1.2 million “transactions” of driver data per year, and 25 million related to vehicles.

The exact detail of what broke down between DMV offices in the territory and the exchange is not clear.


“The department is currently reviewing the technical issues leading up to the event,” a Department of Infrastructure spokesperson said by email, “and does not have any more details to provide at this time.

“The department is working to ensure similar issues don’t arise in the future.”