Canadians who listen to the radio or watch television can now receive emergency alert messages

OTTAWA-GATINEAU, March 31, 2015 /CNW/ - As of today, the vast majority of Canadians will be able to receive emergency alert messages affecting life and propertythrough their radio and television services. Most of the broadcasting industry has implemented the national public alerting system and is making Canadians' lives safer.

Emergency alert messages are issued by emergency management officials such as fire marshals, police officers and public health personnel. For example, alerts could be issued to warn Canadians of Amber Alerts, tornadoes, forest fires, floods, water contamination and industrial disasters.

Cable and satellite companies, radio stations, over-the-air television stations and video-on-demand services are now required to issue emergency alert messages. Campus, community-based and Aboriginal broadcasters have until March 31, 2016, to comply with this new requirement.

However, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is concerned and disappointed that certain television service providers are not ready. Bell, Bell Aliant, MTS, Shaw and Sogetel have notified the CRTC that they are not able to issue emergency messages to some of their subscribers and have requested extensions of up to one year. The private broadcasting industry has had more than enough time to prepare. The CRTC has encouraged the industry to participate in the National Alert Aggregation and Dissemination System since its implementation in 2010. In August 2014, the CRTC required that broadcasters and television service providers begin relaying emergency alert messages to Canadians by March 31, 2015.

The full participation of the broadcasting industry is necessary in order for the national public alerting system to be effective in safeguarding and warning Canadians. The CRTC has reluctantly granted the five companies an extension of no more than six months, after which they will have to participate in the national public alerting system. The CRTC is also requiring that Bell, Bell Aliant, MTS, Shaw and Sogetel issue notices to their subscribers to inform them of this delay and submit frequent progress reports to the CRTC regarding their compliance.

Quick Facts

  • As of March 31, 2015, the vast majority of Canadians will receive emergency alert messages through their radio and television services.
  • Alerts could be issued to warn Canadians of Amber Alerts, tornadoes, forest fires, floods, water contamination and industrial disasters.
  • Cable and satellite companies, radio stations, over-the-air television stations and video-on-demand services are required to issue emergency alert messages.
  • Bell, Bell Aliant, MTS, Shaw and Sogetel are not ready to issue emergency messages to all their subscribers and asked the CRTC for extensions of up to one year.
  • The CRTC reluctantly granted these companies a maximum delay of six months and required that they issue notices to their subscribers to inform them of this delay and submit frequent progress reports to the CRTC regarding their compliance.
  • Canadians who are affected by the delay will be able to receive emergency alert messages through the radio. They may also choose to change service providers.

Quote

"We have been working since 2010 to improve the security of Canadians. Thanks to the hard work of many in the broadcasting industry, the majority of those who watch television or listen to the radio will receive warnings of imminent perils such as tornadoes, floods or Amber Alerts.

However, we will not hide our disappointment that certain television service providers are not ready, despite having been given more than enough time by the CRTC. We will monitor them closely to ensure they come into compliance as quickly as possible. For the CRTC, it is of the utmost importance that all measures be employed to protect the lives of Canadians.

Customers of these companies may want to contact them and ask to have access to alert messages. Depending on their response, Canadians may want to consider changing providers to ensure they can receive emergency alert messages when they watch television. We remind Canadians that they no longer have to give 30-days advance notice to change providers."

Jean-Pierre Blais, CRTC Chairman and CEO

Related links

Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2015-118

Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2015-119

Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2015-120

Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2015-121

Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2015-122

Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2014-444

How the CRTC Helps Protect Canadians

Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2014-85

CRTC issues its first decision on Let's Talk TV

 

Follow us on Twitter: @CRTCeng

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These documents are available in alternative format upon request.

 

SOURCE Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

For further information: Media Relations: Tel.: 819-997-9403, Fax: 819-997-4245; General inquiries: Tel.: 819-997-0313, TDD: 819-994-0423, Fax: 819-994-0218, Toll-free No.: 1-877-249-CRTC (2782), TCC - Toll-free No.: 1-877-909-CRTC (2782), Ask a Question or Make a Complaint

RELATED LINKS
http://www.crtc.gc.ca

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