Here’s a step in the right direction for the mobile industry in Canada. Based on successful trial in Vancouver, Toronto, Peel Region and Montreal, the CRTC announced today that those with hearing or speech impairments will soon be able to text 911 during their emergencies.
The CRTC has informed the carriers to upgrade their networks to support this feature by January 24, 2014. Canadians with hearing or speech impairments will have to register their device with their carrier, then “in the event of an emergency, they must first dial 911, and the emergency call centre will automatically receive notification to initiate a conversation by text message.”
Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC, said “This initiative is a perfect example of how technology can be used to improve access to 911 services for Canadians with disabilities. I would like to thank those who participated in last year’s trial. Its success convinced us that expanding the initiative across the country is not only possible, but also in the public interest.”
On another note, the CRTC is also considering making this service available to all Canadians. They recently announced a public consultation that asked Canadians for feedback of how GPS and texting will shape the future of 911 services. The formal review will not be happening until sometime in 2014-2015.