Public alerting tests  to be conducted in Canada on May 5

News release

May 3, 2021 – Ottawa-Gatineau – Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)

On May 5, 2021, all provincial and territorial emergency management organizations will conduct public alerting tests in Canada, except for Ontario, Quebec, Nova-Scotia and Nunavut. As such, test alerts will be distributed on TV, radio and compatible mobile devices connected to a LTE (long-term evolution) or a newer wireless network (5G) in all provinces and territories.

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.

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:

May 5, 2021

Alberta                                   1:55 PM (MDT)

British Columbia                    1:55 PM (PDT)

Manitoba                                1:55 PM (CDT)

New Brunswick                      10:55 AM (ADT)

Newfoundland & Labrador  10:55 AM (NDT)

Northwest Territories            1:55 PM (MDT)

Nova Scotia                            *no test scheduled*

Nunavut                                  *no test scheduled*

Ontario                                   *no test scheduled*

Prince Edward Island            12:55 PM (ADT)

Quebec                                    *no test scheduled*

Saskatchewan                        1:55 PM (CST)

Yukon                                      1:55 PM (PDT)

For a wireless device to receive a test alert, it must be:

  • Connected to an LTE wireless or a newer wireless network (5G) at the time the test alert is issued;
  • Capable of receiving wireless public alerts; and
  • Equipped with a recent Canadian version of its operating software.

If a mobile device meets these conditions and did not receive the test message, Canadians should contact their wireless service provider.

To learn more about test alerts, Canadians should visit Alert Ready.

Quick facts

  • Since January 2019, hundreds of emergency alert messages were successfully transmitted by emergency management officials to warn Canadians of a potentially life-threatening situation. These alerts have been credited with saving lives.

  • Public alerts are important in times of crisis and have recently been used to relay crucial information to the public regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • All devices sold by wireless service providers after April 6, 2019, are expected to be compatible with wireless public alerting.

  • Compatible devices may react differently to public alerts, depending on the phone’s brand, model and operating system.

  • The National Public Alerting System involves various stakeholders:

    • Public Safety Canada is the lead federal department responsible for emergency management and coordinates the development of policies for public alerting with federal, provincial and territorial stakeholders.
    • Emergency alert messages are issued by federal, provincial and territorial governments as well as designated emergency management officials to warn the public of imminent threats, such as fires, tornadoes, floods and Amber Alerts.
    • Provincial and territorial officials are responsible for issuing scheduled test messages.
    • Pelmorex Inc. operates the National Alert Aggregation and Dissemination System, which disseminates alerts to broadcasters and wireless service providers.
    • The CRTC regulates the broadcasting and telecommunications service providers that distribute emergency alerts to the public.
    • Radio and television stations, and television service providers broadcast the messages.
    • Wireless service providers deliver alerts to wireless cellular devices.

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