Canada to Test Wireless Alerting System May 8
Friday, May 03, 2019 | Comments

On May 8, most Canadian provincial and territorial emergency management organizations will issue public test messages through Alert Ready, Canada's emergency alerting system. Each participating province or territory will issue one test message to be distributed simultaneously over television, radio and compatible wireless devices at designated times.

Provincial authorities in Ontario and Quebec will not issue a test due to the ongoing flooding situation being experienced in those areas.

Test alerts should appear on every updated and compatible mobile device connected to a Long Term Evolution (LTE) wireless network in participating provinces and territories.

The most recent test of the Alert Ready system occurred Nov. 28. Ongoing testing of the National Public Alerting System provides an opportunity to validate and improve the system's performance and reliability to ensure it operates as intended on TV, radio and wireless networks in the event of a life-threatening situation.

Many wireless service providers have already sent short message service (SMS) text messages to their subscribers notifying them of the May 8 test. Receipt of that message does not mean that a device is compatible to receive wireless emergency alerts. As more compatible wireless devices are sold in Canada, more Canadians will be able to receive emergency alerts on their wireless device.

For a wireless device to receive a test alert, it must be connected to an LTE wireless network when the test alert is issued, be wireless public alerting compatible and be equipped with the latest version of its operating software. If a mobile device meets these conditions and did not receive the test, Canadians should contact their wireless service provider.

The Alert Ready system was developed with many partners including federal, provincial and territorial government agencies; Pelmorex; the broadcasting industry; and wireless service providers. It has enabled government authorities to deliver emergency alerts to Canadians during threat-to-life situations over television and radio since 2015, and to compatible wireless devices since April 2018.

Since the implementation of wireless public alerting in April 2018, more than 120 alerts and updates have been successfully delivered by emergency management officials to warn Canadians of imminent threats. All devices sold by wireless service providers after April 6, 2019, must be compatible with wireless public alerting under federal regulations.

"While more than 120 emergency alerts have been successfully transmitted to Canadians over television, radio and wireless devices since April 2018, having regular tests allows us to better educate Canadians about Alert Ready and provide an opportunity to validate and improve the end-to-end performance and reliability of the system," said Martin Belanger, director of public alerting at Pelmorex, operator of the technical infrastructure of Alert Ready, known as the National Alert Aggregation and Dissemination System.

Test alerts demonstrate what an emergency alert will look and sound like in the event of a life-threatening situation. Alert Ready was designed to deliver critical and potentially life-saving alerts to Canadians. Given the importance of warning Canadians of imminent threat to the safety of life and property, Canadians do not have the option to opt out of the service.

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