General FAQs re Alert Ready

View Frequently Asked Questions about Alert Ready here

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. Each provincial or territorial government decides who will have the authority to issue alerts within their jurisdictions. For example, emergency alerts could be issued by provincial or territorial emergency management offices or in some cases by municipal emergency management offices or local police and fire departments.

Media companies, including television, radio stations, cable and satellite distributors, as well as websites receive these emergency alerts and relay them to their customers.

As of May 8, 2019, wireless service providers are capable of distributing emergency alerts received from alerting authorities directly to their customers’ compatible wireless devices connected to LTE networks using Cell Broadcast distribution.

What types of emergency alerts are issued via Alert Ready?

The Alert Ready system allows alerting authorities from federal, provincial, and territorial governments to issue a wide range of public safety messages. However, broadcasters and wireless service providers are only required to distribute emergency alerts for situations that pose an immediate threat to life.

Government officials developed and agreed on a specific list of the types of alerts that are considered a threat-to-life and should be distributed immediately, interrupting radio and television broadcasts. These “Broadcast Immediately” emergency alerts have the highest level of severity, urgency and certainty. For a full list, visit theAlert Types section of the

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

What do emergency alerts look and sound like?

Emergency alerts distributed on radio, television, and compatible wireless devices all begin with a distinct sound, known as the Canadian Alerting Attention Signal. Emergency alerts sent to WPA-compatible wireless devices will also cause the phone to vibrate. The sound and vibration conveys a sense of urgency and reinforces the alert message. For an example of the Alerting Attention Signal, click here.

On compatible wireless devices, the emergency alert will display an “EMERGENCY ALERT/ALERTE D’URGENCE” banner, followed by information 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.

Will emergency alerts be for my specific area?

The alerting authority determines what areas are affected by an incident, weather or environmental situation, and uses a standard system that will typically correspond with municipal, regional or provincial boundaries. The standardized system will allow participating radio, television, cable and satellite companies to broadcast the emergency alerts that are most relevant to the communities they serve.

Emergency alerts intended for wireless devices are issued to a defined geographic area so that only people physically present in the defined area at the time an emergency alert is issued receive this alert. Compatible wireless devices in the targeted area will receive the emergency alerts within seconds of being issued, provided the phones are powered on and connected to an LTE cellular network.

When should I expect to get a test alert? Are they scheduled in advance?

Testing of the emergency alert system is scheduled in advance. The test schedule for your specific province or territory can be found on

Test alerts are distributed via AM/FM radio, TV, cable TV, and WPA compatible devices. The test alert is intended to validate that the overall alerting system is working as it should. No action is required should you receive the alert on your device.

You cannot opt-out from receiving test alerts.

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Updated on Thu, 18 Mar 2021 by Tbaytel Shannon

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