Canada's public emergency alert system to test on mobile devices next week

Nov 22 2019, 8:21 am

Canada’s public alerting tests will be taking place once again on November 27.

According to the CRTC, all provincial and territorial emergency management organizations will conduct public alerting tests in Canada, except for Nunavut.

On that day, test alerts will be distributed on TV, radio and compatible mobile device connected to a LTE (long-term evolution) wireless network in all provinces and territories, except for Nunavut.

“Ongoing testing of the National Public Alerting System provides an opportunity for stakeholders to validate and improve the system’s performance and reliability to ensure it operates as intended in the event of a life-threatening situation,” said the CRTC in a release.

“The messages will be identified as test alerts and will not require Canadians to take action.”

They will be sent out according to the following schedule on November 27, 2019:

Alberta                                    

1:55 PM (MST)

British-Colombia                    

1:55 PM (PST)

Manitoba                                

1:55 PM (CST)

New Brunswick                      

10:55 AM (AST)

Newfoundland & Labrador     

10:55 AM (NST)

Northwest Territories               

9:55 AM (MST)

Nova Scotia                            

1:55 PM (AST)

Nunavut                                  

*No test*

Ontario                                    

2:55 PM (EST)

Prince Edward Island             

12:55 PM (AST)

Quebec                                   

1:55 PM (EST)

Saskatchewan                        

1:55 PM (CST)

Yukon                                     

1:55 PM (PST)

According to the CRTC, for a wireless device to receive a test alert, it must be:

  •  connected to a LTE wireless network when the test alert is issued
  •  wireless public alerting compatible, and
  •  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 National Public Alerting System (NPAS), publicly branded as Alert Ready, is a collaborative initiative between Federal-Provincial-Territorial governments and industry partners.

Examples of the types of alerts that are issued through the Alert Ready system include natural disasters like tornados and earthquakes or a civil emergency like Amber Alerts.

Since January 2019, the CRTC said that more than 125 emergency alert messages have been successfully transmitted by emergency management officials to warn Canadians of a potentially life-threatening situation.

Depending on the service provider, phones will either sound off or buzz for eight seconds during the testing. For more information about Alert Ready and to hear the alert click here.