Emergency alerts are an important way for essential services like police, fire marshals, and Environment Canada to distribute important messages through the National Public Alerting System (NPAS). These alerts come through television and radio stations, and are reserved for imminent threats, and since 2014, the CRTC has been encouraging mobile platforms and digital media to broadcast these alerts as well.
This week, the CRTC introduced an interactive map showing every radio and TV station that broadcasts emergency alerts across Canada. There are also a number of cable and satellite providers who relay these messages included on the map. The map will be updated at least annually, and since March 2015, most broadcasters of radio, TV, cable and satellite are already sending emergency alerts.
The next step for the CRTC is to examine how wireless services, like those provided to the 80 percent of Canadians with a mobile device, can participate in the public alerting system as well. The major mobile platforms, Android and iOS, already support emergency alerts, but the centralization of this messages would support younger Canadians who are less likely to have Cable TV or listen to the radio.