CRTC to begin 3-month trial to allow those with hearing and speech impairments to reach 911 via text

Ian Hardy

February 16, 2012 12:07pm

Can’t help but congratulate the CRTC on this move. It’s been announced that a 3-month trial will begin soon that will allow those with hearing and speech impairments to reach the 911 call centre via text message. In total there’s a limited amount of “pre-registered participants” in Vancouver, Toronto, Peel Region and Montreal. It’ll be interesting to see how the trial goes, if successful the CRTC will roll the service out nationwide. There’s no specific details of how the program will operate, but you can bet they’ll be dependant on the GPS.

Leonard Katz, the CRTC’s Acting Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Telecommunications, said “This text messaging trial is one of several initiatives that the CRTC is exploring to improve the accessibility of communications services for the hearing and speech impaired. This trial will give us the technical and operational information we need before making a final decision on whether to expand the program nationwide.”

In 2009 the CRTC mandated wireless companies to “offer at least one type of cellphone to serve the needs of people who are blind and/or have moderate-to-severe mobility or cognitive disabilities”. It’s great to see more features in testing, but regardless of how the trial goes the service should be offered.

Source: CRTC

  • Brian

    This service should be offered to everyone, like people who are choking, or have a throat injury and can’t talk at the moment and need a ambulance. Or someone who needs the police but want to be annonomous and sending a simple text would be appropriate at the time. Or if someone just got a hearing injury at the moment and need an ambulance. This service would be great for everyone not just people with long term disabilities.

    • Sam

      agreed but I don’t think you mean anonymous as you’re not anonymous to 911 unless the phone is stolen, but you are contacting 911 without people around you knowing what you’re doing…perhaps. Which is I think what you meant.

    • Terry

      You can’t be anonymous when calling 911 or the whole 911 system wouldn’t work.

      If you’re calling to report a crime, the law enforcement has tools in place to protect your identity, even if you have to testify.

  • keiYUI

    Is that the old LG Voyager in the picture..? Ahhh old phone mate.. Good times 🙂

  • jonny

    Everyone needs the ability to text 911. Once i was on a bus and some guy was going crazy and was saying he was going to kill a whole bunch of people and stuff. I couldnt call 911 cause he would have gone after me, but i could have texted 911.

  • Fury

    “a 3-month trial “

  • new_tradition

    I don’t understand one thing. Assuming a person with their hearing and voice intact DID use a text instead of calling, would there be reprecussions? The above comments laid out some valid reasons one would text instead of calling. Would 911 really spend time scolding (or fining) the person for not calling?

  • Brian

    @ Terry what I meant was to be annonomous from someone near you that your contacting 911 service, like the incident Jonny mentioned he couldn’t call 911 cause some guy was going crazy if he would of heard Jonny calling 911 he would perhaps retaliate, so having the ability to text 911 would be an awesome feature. Same thing would be good is internet messaging 911 from your computer, because some people don’t have a telephone to use, and some people have a computer. Or internet messaging from your tablet device as well.