Posted by: dave1949 | 2011/01/13

New Millennium or You can’t get there from here.

It is eleven years into the new millennium. You know the one where we are all getting on line and information is the new power that is going to free us from all the old ways of doing things. Just today I was at a restaurant and when the time came to pay the bill the waitress brought over a little wireless machine and I swiped my Debit card right there at the table. I was able to include a tip and the bill was paid in a matter of a few minutes.

This is a bit different than the other interactions I had today. In order to get married I need to get the divorce order from the first marriage which ended in 1984. I know I should have kept the paper and I know it is my fault that in the intervening years I let it slip away somewhere. So I girded my loins and started trying to track down  the information.

After a few hours fishing around inside provincial and federal web sites, the kind where they hire experts to design organize and operate them full time I found I could get the divorce file number form the central registry in Ottawa. So at about 1:pm I called the number. Of course I expected to get voice mail rather than I live person. Of course I expected it to be frustrating to try to get through the process and find the information I needed. What I didn’t expect was that the message I received on the office number. “The voice mailbox is full and can’t accept any more messages at this time please call back later. I tried calling 3 more times through the afternoon and got the same message. The mailbox is full and can’t accept anymore messages. This was in the middle of a normal working day in government offices all over Canada.

A little side which I’m sure many single parents looking for child support already know but this whole central registry and office was specifically set up tho help them track down and get support for their children when there was a problem with the non paying parent is difficult to find.

The next day I called the registry again and actually got through. Not to a person but to the voice mail system that has now apparently been cleared enough to accept requests. Then about 4 hours later the miracle occurred. I got a call back from a real live person who actually had the information I needed.  This included the divorce file number and the date and place the divorce was finalized and where I could get a copy of said certificate.

After thanking the agent profusely I got on the phone to Toronto where the records are held and asked to get the papers sent to me.

It is eleven years into the new millennium. You know the one where we are all getting on line and information is the new power that is going to free us from all the old ways of doing things.  You can’t get the papers on line. You can’t pay for the papers over the phone or by computer. You must either get to the office in person and pay the fee or you can proceed by snail mail paying by cheque and then waiting for them to mail the papers home to you. Of course since the records in my case are so old they also can’t access them right away they are in storage so that will require a second trip to Toronto when they have found them in storage, by hand and retrieved them, by hand, and copied them, by hand and then I can have the records and go about getting a marriage license in order t get married.

Did I mention we are 11 years into the new millennium.



  1. Perhaps the Canadian government hasn’t yet heard of the new millennium. When they do I hope they don’t mention it to the U.S. Government: it would only confuse them.

  2. Lots of students are looking for summer jobs, why not have the just scan this stuff into the system?

    Oh yeah, new way of doing things. Or something.

    The mind, it boggles.

  3. Montucky, I know several people who work for the government and they are continually frustrated by the length of time it takes to get anything done. Sae as in most places I guess.
    Jazz, Using government money to hire people that need work and will actually help other citizens is all wrong. THhat sort of thing should be left to big business cause they care so much more.

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