Alert Ready / Wireless Public Alerting (WPA)

What is Wireless Public Alerting / Alert Ready?

Alert Ready is a service designated to deliver critical potentially lifesaving alert messages to Canadians.

The system was developed in partnership with federal, provincial, and territorial emergency management officials, Pelmorex Corp, the broadcast industry, and wireless service providers including Koodo to ensure you receive emergency alerts immediately and know when to take action to keep you and your family safe.  

Beginning April 6, 2018, Koodo and all Canadian wireless service providers will be required to broadcast emergency alerts received from alerting authorities directly to consumers’ WPA compatible wireless devices using Cell Broadcasting distribution.

Wireless service providers will only receive and broadcast alerts that are issued for threat to life situations.

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.  The defined area is selected by the alerting authorities. Compatible wireless devices in the targeted area, including devices that are roaming, will receive the emergency alerts within seconds of alert issuance, provided the devices are powered on and connected to the LTE cellular network. If you are travelling outside of Canada to a country that has a functional wireless alerting service, you may receive alerts issued to the geographic location you are in.

You cannot opt out of receiving threat-to-life emergency alerts.

What do wireless public alerts look like?

While the alerts may look like text messages, they are not text messages and are not billed like text messages nor do they count towards data usage. Emergency alerts begin with a distinct sound, known as the Canadian Alert Attention Signal and may also cause the device to vibrate.

On compatible wireless devices, the emergency alert will display an EMERGENCY ALERT/ALERTE D’URGENCE banner with information describing the situation, instructions on what actions to take and where to learn more. At the top of each emergency alert, the issuing government agency will be clearly indicated.

As a general rule, emergency alerts will only be issued once. In the event that the issuing government has an update to the original alert, you will receive updated alert messages.

Note: Once every year, you will receive a test alert that allows the government to ensure the system is working as expected. The test alert text will clearly indicate that it is a test alert.

If you are a person with a sight or hearing disability, alternate formats of emergency alert can be issued. Emergency alerts may be read to the recipient if their device supports this accessibility feature and the vibration feature that accompanies emergency alerts sent to wireless devices will help make hearing impaired aware of alerts. For more information on accessibility features contact your device manufacturer.

For more information, take a look at these frequently asked questions.

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