Commission Letter Addressed to Distribution list
Ottawa, 24 September 2018
Subject: Wireless Public Alerting – 16 September 2018 Saskatchewan Amber Alert
Dear Sir, Madam:
On 16 September 2018, the Saskatchewan RCMP issued an Amber Alert around 7:31 p.m. (CST). The alert was successfully broadcast throughout the province on radio and television stations using the National Public Alerting System (NPAS).
However, it was reported in a CBC article on 18 September 2018 that the Amber Alert was not initially distributed over wireless service providers’ networks.
The Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations, which is responsible for emergency management in Saskatchewan, stated in the article that:
The Amber Alert was also issued through wireless technology but it did not go through due to a text issue related to the National Public Alerting System. The problem was addressed and the alert was issued through the National Public Alerting System around 10:30 p.m.
Pelmorex, the operator of the National Alert Aggregation and Dissemination (NAAD) System, in the article, stated:
The wireless service providers experienced an error when the alert was received at their end. The issue was escalated immediately and the NAAD System team provided support to help partners to resolve the issue. Preliminary investigation determined the issue originated in technology used by carriers to distribute alerts.
Commission staff is aware that the Amber Alert was later expanded to Alberta and Manitoba before it was cancelled Monday morning.
Based on the above, it would appear that the wireless Amber Alert was not successful in reaching its intended audience in a timely manner.
Accordingly, Commission staff is requesting that you provide the following information in order that the Commission is able to understand the nature of and assess the extent of the issues which prevented the successful distribution of the wireless Amber Alert in this instance:
- Confirm whether you were able to successfully distribute in a timely manner the Amber Alert issued by the Saskatchewan RCMP on 16 September 2018. If so, demonstrate the manner in which you were able to successfully distribute the wireless Amber Alert, consistent with section 2.13.1 of the National Public Alerting System: Common Look and Feel Guidance regarding the speed of delivery of alert messages.
- In the event that you were unable to distribute the wireless Amber Alert as issued by the Saskatchewan RCMP:
- Provide a detailed description of the issues you encountered that impeded your ability to successfully distribute the Amber Alert, as intended by the Saskatchewan RCMP.
- Provide a detailed explanation as to what were the issues that were in your ability or power to address. What actions did you take to resolve these issues and in what timeframes?
- Confirm whether there are any outstanding issues which are in your ability or power to address that remain unresolved? If so, what are they, and what actions are you taking to resolve them, and in what timeframes?
Given that the Amber Alert was subsequently expanded to Alberta and Manitoba, the response to the above questions should also provide details of any issues experienced in Alberta and Manitoba and the actions undertaken to resolve them, as appropriate.
In light of the significant importance of this issue, responses are to be filed with the Commission no later than 1 October, 2018.
Social and Consumer Policy
Consumer Affairs and Strategic Policy
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