Canada to Send Wireless Test Alert Nov. 28
Tuesday, November 20, 2018 | Comments

Alert Ready, Canada's emergency alerting system, will send a test alert next week, and the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) is encouraging Canadians to learn how it will affect their wireless devices. As part of a general test of the alert system, government agencies across Canada will distribute a message to compatible wireless devices, as well as TV and radio, Nov. 28 at 1:55 p.m. local time.

"Alert Ready is designed to deliver critical and potentially life-saving alerts to Canadians, and this test will help educate Canadians on what an emergency alert will look and sound like in the event of a life-threatening situation," said CWTA President and CEO Robert Ghiz.

Since the launch of wireless alerts in April, more than 100 emergency alerts have been successfully transmitted and credited with saving lives, most notably the tornadoes in Ottawa and Gatineau Sept. 21. Testing the system allows carriers to ensure it is working as intended and to learn what areas need adjustments so that they can be better prepared for the next real emergency.

"Emergency alerts that people receive on their wireless devices begin with a distinct sound, known as the Canadian Alerting Attention Signal, and will also vibrate," said Ghiz. "The sound will generally play at the volume your device is set to and, depending on your device, can override all of your settings. Most devices have multiple setting controls for different features such as ringtones, media, notifications and system alerts."

CWTA is reminding users that not every wireless device will necessarily receive the alert.

"There are a number of reasons why a person's device might not receive the alert," said Ghiz. "Everything from device compatibility, connection to an LTE (Long Term Evolution) network at the time of the alert, and device software and settings can have an impact on whether or not the alert comes through. As important first steps, Canadians are encouraged to check their device compatibility on their wireless service provider's website, and ensure that their device has the latest software update installed."

Alert issuers — the federal, provincial and territorial governments — determine when an emergency alert will be issued and to what area(s). Alerts are only issued in threat-to-life situations. Wireless service providers are last-mile distributors and do not define, manage or interfere with the content or timing of the alerts.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) requires that 50 percent of new devices available for sale in Canada be compatible with Alert Ready; this requirement increases to 100 percent by April 2019. Over time, more devices will be compatible, and more Canadians will receive the alerts on their wireless devices.

Canadians who want to see if their device is compatible with the wireless public alert system are encouraged to visit their provider's website.

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