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City of Saint John virtual service restoration update and important bill payment information

The City continues to work around the clock to respond to the ransomware virus and restore virtual services after taking the website and networks offline on November 13.

At this time, the City’s Emergency Management Organization (SJ-EMO) remains activated in response to two concurrent situations: COVID-19 level orange and the restoration virtual services.

With respect to the ransomware virus, the City continues with its commitment to keep the public informed, and aware of the impacts on the delivery of municipal services. This commitment is balanced with the need to ensure that we are not providing information that could compromise the security of our systems, recovery efforts, and police investigation. We also do not want to publicly provide details that could benefit future potential attackers.

"We have a team of experts working in response to the ransomware virus, to restore our virtual services for our community effectively and safely. I have been impressed with the dedication and professionalism of the team, and have full confidence that the city will recover in the coming weeks,” says John Collin, City Manager for the City of Saint John.

The City wishes to emphasize that most services remain fully operational. This includes:

  • Police and fire response including the ability to dispatch to emergency calls (9-1-1)
  • Drinking and waste water services
  • Solid waste management services (garbage and compost)
  • Emergency public works repairs
  • Road and sidewalk maintenance
  • Winter storm management
  • Storm water maintenance
  • Parks and recreation services (with some restrictions due to COVID-19)
  • Customer service main line at 658-4455 and for walk-in appointments
  • Bill and parking ticket payment services (as detailed below)
  • Saint John City Market
  • Building inspections and permitting (as of Monday, November 30)
  • Fire inspection and prevention services
  • P.R.O. Kids coordination

“Most of the City’s IT systems, and the overall network, remain offline at this time,” adds Collin. “Taking the systems offline was an immediate and proactive response the City took to contain the virus, and the move has supported our efforts to rebuild elements that were affected. Our network will be back online only once we are sure that it is safe to do so.”

Where information technology (IT) services are not available, employees have developed appropriate manual processes to continue with the delivery of services.

The following public-facing services are temporarily unavailable. The City will notify the public once they are back up and running.

  • City of Saint John full website. A temporary website is available at [][1]
  • Some departmental phone lines
  • Email to most City employees
  • Online payments (bank and in-person cash or cheque payments are accepted)

The City does not have any confirmation that personal information was accessed or transferred from the virus. Making a final determination on this matter continues to be a priority. As soon as we know more, we will notify the community immediately.

Out of an abundance of caution, and as the City has advised in previous updates, people should check their personal accounts and credit cards for any irregularities and notify their financial institution if they see anything odd or suspicious.

Bill and ticket payment options currently available

Saint John Water payments can be made through the customer’s bank, through pre-authorized payments, or in-person by cheque or cash at the Customer Service Centre on the 1st floor of City Hall. Customers must present their bill when paying in person.

Parking ticket payments can be paid in-person by cheque or cash at the Customer Service Centre on the 1st floor of City Hall. Customers must present their ticket when paying in person. Late payments or penalty increases will not be charged as of November 13, 2020.

On-street and monthly parking payments can be made at the parking metre machines or through the HotSpot parking application. This application is hosted by a third-party vendor. Cheque or cash payments for monthly parking can be made in-person at the Customer Service Centre on the 1st floor of City Hall.

Customer inquiries should be directed to the City’s Customer Service Centre at (506) 658-4455.