Canada Conducts Nationwide Emergency Alert System Test

An emergency alert is seen on a mobile phone in North Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, November 16, 2022. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

Today, Canada is conducting a comprehensive test of its national emergency alert system, known as Alert Ready. This initiative, designed to assess the system’s effectiveness and readiness in emergency situations, will see tests across most provinces and territories.

What to Expect During the Test

The Alert Ready system will send test messages to television, radio, and LTE-compatible wireless devices. These tests are scheduled at different times across the country:

  • Newfoundland and Labrador: 10:55 a.m. NST
  • New Brunswick: 10:55 a.m. AST
  • Prince Edward Island: 12:55 p.m. AST
  • Nova Scotia: 1:55 p.m. AST
  • Quebec: 1:55 p.m. EST
  • Ontario: 12:55 p.m. EST
  • Nunavut: 2:00 p.m. EST
  • Manitoba: 1:55 p.m. CST
  • Saskatchewan: 1:55 p.m. CST
  • Yukon: 1:55 p.m. MST
  • British Columbia: 1:55 p.m. PST

It’s important to note that Alberta and the Northwest Territories will not participate in this month’s test.

Each alert will begin with an eight-second “alert ready tone,” followed by the approved text of the alert. Officials assure that the alerts will clearly indicate their test nature.

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Inclusivity and Accessibility Focus

A significant aspect of this test includes gathering feedback, particularly from Canadians with disabilities. The Alert Ready team is conducting a survey to identify challenges faced by this demographic when interacting with emergency alerts. This survey, along with a general public survey, can be accessed on the Alert Ready website.

Some broadcasting platforms may use text-to-speech software to create an audio version of the message, while certain phones allow for the message to be read out loud. Additionally, there’s a vibration feature on some phones to alert users to the message.

Purpose of the Test

This system is vital for disseminating urgent information, such as Amber Alerts, active shooter situations, or impending dangerous weather systems. According to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), these tests are mandatory to ensure the system’s reliability and increase public awareness.

Collaboration for Safety

The Alert Ready system is a collaborative effort involving all levels of government, emergency management officials, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Pelmorex, the broadcasting industry, and wireless service providers. This partnership aims to ensure that Canadians receive immediate alerts and understand the necessary actions to stay safe.

The test served not only as a measure of the system’s current effectiveness but also as a stepping stone towards enhancing its capabilities, particularly in terms of accessibility and public engagement. By conducting these tests and seeking active public participation through surveys, Canada continues to strengthen its emergency preparedness, ensuring the safety and well-being of its residents in times of crisis.

For more information on Alert Ready and to participate in the surveys, visit Alert Ready’s website.