Was there ever a time you noticed you did not receive an emergency alert that everyone around you seemed to receive? Worry no more! In this article, we will try to update your knowledge about the Canadian emergency alert service and subsequently equip you with tools to ensure you're better prepared and connected to receive emergency alerts whenever they occur.
While changes are being made to our public alert systems in order keep people aware and safe, here's what you need to know:
- The Alberta Emergency Alerting System will be converted to the National Public Alerting System on March 1, 2023. No action is required from the public. This conversion is done by the broadcasters and to ensure Canadians continue to receive emergency alerts on the television or on the radio.
- This national system complements all the current Alberta Emergency Alert message delivery services such as the website, Facebook and Twitter, and the mobile app.
- All Canadian wireless service providers are required to broadcast emergency alerts received from alerting authorities directly to consumers’ WPA compatible wireless devices using Cell Broadcast distribution.
- Wireless service providers will only receive and broadcast alerts that are issued for threat-to-life situations.
- As mandated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), you cannot opt out of receiving threat-to-life emergency alerts.
To stay informed on potentially life saving alerts, here's how to ensure you receive alerts on your phone!
While alerts are automatically sent to your television, radio, social media feed, and also published on your government websites, we recommend you firstly determine your cell phone’s capability to receive emergency Alerts through Alert Ready, Canada’s emergency alerting system, responsible for delivering critical and potentially life-saving alerts to Canadians through television, radio and LTE-connected and compatible wireless devices.
Also note that while all wireless mobile devices do not offer wireless public alerting compatibility, as of October 2021 approximately 93.5% of the LTE devices connected to the TELUS networks are capable of receiving wireless emergency alerts. For a device to receive WPA alerts the following conditions need to be met:
- A wireless public alerting (WPA) compatible device, like a smartphone, capable of connecting to an LTE network (LTE is commonly referred to as “4G LTE”); and
- Equipped with the latest version of its operating software; and
- Connected to an LTE cellular network at the time the emergency alert is issued or joins the network while the alert is still active.
Emergency alert on iOS or Android devices
By default, if you are in Canada, Government Alerts are turned on for your wireless devices that meet the aforementioned conditions. When you receive a government alert, you hear a special sound that's similar to an alarm.
- For iOS devices: If you want to learn more about emergency and government alerts on your iPhone, follow this link.
- For Android devices, visit this link to learn more.
We're here to help best direct you to the appropriate help resources. So if you're still experiencing issues with your phone not being able to receive alerts, you can reach out directly to Alert Ready or review their FAQs through this link.
If you want to learn more about how emergency alerts are handled, we've compiled a group of handy resources:
- Location of Broadcast and Wireless Emergency Alert Distributors
- Alert Ready
- National Public Alerting System
- Testing the Response of Mobile Phones to Wireless Public Alerts (Report Summary)
- Exploring attitudes towards Wireless Public Alerting System in Canada (Public Opinion Research)
- TELUS Wireless Public Alerting explained
- Learn about Wireless Emergency Alerts
- About emergency and government alerts on iPhone