The CRTC has publicly congratulated the wireless carriers for “develop[ing] specifications” for an emergency alert messages system, but stated that it is now “critical that emergency alert messages be delivered to mobile devices,” not just on television and radio stations.
Alerts are mostly issued by fire marshals, police officers and public health personnel, and could be used to warn Canadians of Amber Alerts, tornadoes, forest fires, floods, water contamination and industrial disasters.
Over the next few months, the Network Working Group under the CRTC’s Interconnection Steering Committee, will be deploying and testing the technology for mobile devices. An official pilot program will be launched sometime in 2016.
According to the release, the alert system will utilize the national public alerting system and LTE wireless networks. The technology will only support devices that meet these specifications and emergency messages will be displayed in both English and French.
“The experience in other jurisdictions has shown that mobile alerts are an efficient way to alert citizens in an emergency situation and even save lives”, said CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais, in a prepared statement. “We are encouraged by the progress made to date, and urge all stakeholders to move as quickly as possible to make wireless public alerting a reality. Canadians carry their mobile devices with them everywhere and should have access to life-saving information as soon as it is available.”
There are over 28 million wireless subscribers in Canada and LTE service is available across the country.