CRTC approves carriage of The Weather Network and MétéoMédia's services, allowing for an emergency alerting system

    OTTAWA and GATINEAU, QC, June 11 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian
Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today issued a
decision that will allow Canadians to receive emergency alerts. As an
enhancement to its existing services, Pelmorex Communications Inc. (Pelmorex),
the owner of The Weather Network and MétéoMédia, will make emergency alerts
available to broadcasters across the country.
    The Commission recognizes that The Weather Network and MétéoMédia make a
unique contribution to public safety and are exceptionally important to the
achievement of Canada's broadcasting policy.
    In a decision dated February 28, 2007, the Commission removed regulatory
obstacles to the provision of emergency alerts to Canadians. It stated that
if, in two years' time, it became apparent that a voluntary approach is not
adequate, it might consider additional measures to ensure that Canadians
receive timely warnings of imminent perils.
    "In our 2007 decision, we gave two years to the industry to come up with
a solution", said Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC. "While
the industry made progress in developing specifications and standards, no
national emergency alert aggregator has been identified or established.
Consequently, we are living up to our promise and are designating Pelmorex as
the national emergency alert aggregator and distributor".
    Today's decision in no way impedes the efforts of federal, provincial and
municipal governments to implement a national public alerting system, but
rather complements their efforts.
    In its application, Pelmorex proposed to act as the national aggregator
for emergency alerts issued by municipal, provincial and federal authorities.
The alerts would be made available to participating cable and satellite
systems, television and radio broadcasters, and other media outlets. When
there is an alert, programming would be interrupted in order to relay messages
to Canadians. The national reach of the emergency alerting system will ensure
the quick delivery of important safety messages to Canadians.
    The Commission will review the company's progress in implementing the
emergency alerting system next year, at the same time as it considers the
licence renewal applications for The Weather Network and MétéoMédia. Cable and
satellite companies will have to carry these channels from September 1, 2010,
to August 31, 2015. Afterwards, The Weather Network and MétéoMédia will have
to submit a new application to the Commission.
    Today's decision follows a public process that included a public hearing,
which was held from March 31, 2009 to April 3, 2009.

    Broadcasting Order CRTC 2009-340

    The CRTC

    The CRTC is an independent public authority that regulates and supervises
broadcasting and telecommunications in Canada.

    Reference documents:

    Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2009-2-2
    News release, "CRTC develops an approach to implement both emergency
    alert services and telephone-based community notification services,"
    February 28, 2007
    Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2007-20
    Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2007-72

For further information:

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