Canada Adds Wireless Alerts to Nationwide Emergency Alerting Program
Tuesday, April 03, 2018 | Comments

Government agencies will soon be able to deliver emergency alerts to more Canadians during threat-to-life situations with the addition of wireless public alerting (WPA) to Alert Ready, Canada's national public alerting system. Beginning April 6, wireless service providers will distribute emergency alerts received from alerting authorities directly to compatible wireless devices connected to Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks.

Alert Ready has distributed emergency alerts over TV and radio broadcast in Canada since 2015. By adding wireless, Alert Ready will increase the reach and geotargeting capabilities of the system.

“Canadians expect to receive information on emergencies through the same tools they use every day, from all levels of government working together,” said Ralph Goodale, minister of public safety and emergency preparedness. “The expansion of Canada's alerting system to include wireless emergency alerts will ensure Canadians have the critical info they need at their fingertips."

Alert Ready is free to consumers, and no signup is required to receive messages on wireless devices. Emergency alerts will automatically be delivered to all smartphones that operate on LTE networks and contain the necessary software. By April 2019, all wireless devices for sale in Canada must be WPA compatible.

A national public awareness campaign, including digital, television and radio advertisements, and direct-to-consumer outreach, launched last month. The campaign encourages Canadians to visit alertready.ca to determine if their current wireless device is WPA compatible and to learn more about emergency alerting in Canada.

“Nearly 31 million Canadians subscribe to a wireless service, and 99 percent of Canadians have access to LTE networks,” said Robert Ghiz, president and CEO of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA). “Wireless technology has transformed the way Canadians live, work and play, and wireless devices have become integral parts of our day-to-day lives. Governments now have a powerful new tool to reach citizens and assist them with critical information in the event of an emergency."

Alert Ready provides authorized government agencies across Canada with a simple and easily accessible method to issue public-safety messages. Cable and satellite companies, radio stations, over-the-air television stations and wireless service providers will transmit crucial Alert Ready alerts to their audiences and subscribers. Only alerts that represent an imminent or unexpected threat to life or property will be distributed based on criteria developed by government officials. The list includes a broad range of events such as tornados, floods, biohazards and wildfires.

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