Newly released statistics show Canada's citizenship and immigration website experienced a huge spike in web traffic from the U.S. just before it crashed on Tuesday, as results from the American presidential election were rolling in.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada says there were more than 200,000 users accessing the site around 11 p.m. on election night and American IP addresses accounted for about half of that figure.
Spokeswoman Sonia Lesage says that doesn't include users who tried to access the website but were unsuccessful, after receiving a server error message for instance.
She says the web traffic figures for Tuesday night — when the election results were starting to indicate a Donald Trump presidential victory — were significantly higher than the same time the previous week, when the website saw just over 17,000 users.
The crash also occurred after a Canadian government Twitter account posted a message encouraging people to immigrate to Canada.
"In Canada, immigrants are encouraged to bring their cultural traditions with them and share them with their fellow citizens," said the government message, contrasting with rhetoric spread by Trump during his campaign.
In Canada, immigrants are encouraged to bring their cultural traditions with them and share them with their fellow citizens. pic.twitter.com/MOuStZbSX7— Canada #StandWithUkraine🇺🇦 (@Canada) November 9, 2016
Typically, Lesage says the percentage of site visitors from American IP addresses ranges between 8.8 per cent to 11.6 per cent.
She says a "significant increase" in web traffic and technical difficulties was found to be behind Tuesday's site crash. The website is now fully operational.
A number of U.S. citizens have said they may consider applying to move to Canada if Trump follows through on proposed policies such as mass deportations of illegal immigrants or the reopening of international trade agreements.
Immigration lawyers have warned, however, that the process to move to Canada can be long and complex and may cause a number of potential U.S. emigrants to reconsider their plans to move north once they learn more.