The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is inviting comments on the participation of wireless service providers in Canada’s National Public Alerting System.
Over 80% of Canadians own a mobile device and 66% own a smartphone. Given the broad ownership of wireless devices by the Canadian public, the wireless industry’s participation in the alerting system could further enhance its effectiveness in safeguarding and warning Canadians about potential emergencies and natural disasters. Mobile alerts could be an effective way to alert citizens in such a situation.
Wireless public alerting has already been successfully implemented in other jurisdictions, such as the United States and Australia. In the US, for example, emergency alerts are automatically sent to all mobile devices to warn the public about emergencies within the affected cellular tower coverage area. The alerts are designed to get attention with a vibration and unique sound, including the type and time of the alert, as well as any action that should be taken.
The CRTC would like to hear from Canadians on the possibility of implementing a similar system in Canada. Canadians may submit their comments by May 30, 2022.
Emergency alerts are issued by emergency management officials such as fire marshals, police officers and public health personnel. Alerts could be issued, for example, to warn Canadians about tornadoes, forest fires, floods and water contamination.
The consultation launched today builds on the CRTC’s efforts to ensure Canadians are notified in a timely manner of emergency situations, as well as to ensure that the telecommunications system safeguards them.