Who sends emergency alerts?
Federal, provincial, and territorial governments are responsible for issuing emergency alerts. Federally, emergency alerts are issued most frequently by Environment and Climate Change Canada.
Media companies, including television, radio stations, cable and satellite distributors, as well as websites receive these emergency alerts and relay them to their consumers.
Since 2018, wireless service providers, like Videotron, are capable of distributing emergency alerts received from alerting authorities directly to their consumers’ compatible wireless devices connected to LTE networks using Cell Broadcast distribution.
Broadcasters and wireless service providers are only required to distribute emergency alerts for situations that pose an immediate threat-to-life: fire, natural disasters, biochemical risks, hazardous, environmental problems, terrorist threats, missing children (AMBER Alert) and civil emergency.
How does the Alert Ready service work?
Emergency alerts intended for wireless devices are issued to a defined geographic area, which can be as small as a few city blocks, so that only people in the defined area receive the emergency alerts. Compatible wireless devices in the targeted area will receive the emergency alerts within seconds of alert issuance, provided the phones are powered on and connected to the LTE cellular network.
Emergency alerts begin with a distinct sound, known as the Canadian Alert Attention Signal. Emergency alerts sent to compatible wireless devices may also cause the phone to vibrate.
The emergency alert will display an EMERGENCY ALERT/ALERTE D’URGENCE banner, followed by text that describes the situation and provides instructions on what actions to take and where to find more information. At the top of each emergency alert, the issuing government agency will be clearly indicated.
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Emergency alerts will not end or terminate a voice call or data session in progress. If you are on a voice call when the emergency alert is received, you will be made aware of the alert by a notification tone (similar to call waiting). When your call terminates the alert will be displayed on your wireless device.
How do I disable an alert?
Warning: Even though some mobile device settings may seem to suggest otherwise, you cannot disable threat-to-life emergency alerts. These alerts are mandated by government regulation.
However, you can disable the alert repeat function. Follow the steps for your device model.
- Scroll down your screen to display Notifications.
- Tap Emergency Alerts to open it.
- Press OK at the bottom of the message.
If necessary, see additional information on managing notifications on an Android device.
Who receives Alert Ready messages?
Anyone who has a wireless device that is WPA-compatible will receive Alert Ready messages. This is an LTE device that has special software embedded in it which allows for messages sent by your service provider, via Cell Broadcast, to be received in the standard Alert Ready format.
The list of the compatible devices is:
TCL 20 Pro 5G
TCL 30 5G
TCL 30 XE 5G
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For information on compatible wireless devices offered by your wireless service provider, visit the Wireless section of AlertReady.ca.
Frequently asked questions about emergency alerts
No. Emergency alerts are sent using Cell Broadcast distribution. Cell Broadcast can only transmit information to your wireless device. This means that no data is being gathered about you, your wireless device or your location when emergency alerts are sent out.