Telecom Commission Letter Addressed to Dennis Béland (Vidéotron)

Ottawa, 17 October 2018

Our reference:  1011-NOC2016-0115


Dennis Béland
VP – Regulatory Affairs - Telecommunications

Subject:  Wireless Public Alerting – 21 September 2018 tornado emergency alert  

Mr. Béland,

On 21 September 2018, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) issued various tornado alerts for multiple locations in and around the national capital region.  The alert was successfully issued into the National Alert Aggregation and Dissemination (NAAD) System. However, the Commission has received a number of complaints in regards to the emergency alert messages received by Videotron’s telecom and broadcasting undertakings.

Specifically, it was reported that a number of Vidéotron’s subscribers experienced issues receiving the alert messages via both broadcasting and wireless platforms. Vidéotron’sBroadcasting Distribution Undertaking (BDU) subscribers reported having issues in relation to the language of the alerts, as it appears that the alerts were received in English only, rather than in both official languages as per ECCC’s original message entered into the NAAD System. In addition, it was also reported that a number of wireless service subscribers did not received thet alert at all.

As a result of these complaints, Commission staff is requesting that you provide the following information in order to ensure 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 tornado emergency alerts issued be ECCC on 21 September 2018:

  1. Confirm whether you were able to successfully distribute the tornado emergency alert on 21 September 2018, as issued by ECCC on your BDU and wireless platforms
  2. In the event that you were unable to successfully distribute the 21 September tornado alert as issued by ECCC:
    1. Provide a detailed description of the issues you encountered that impeded your ability to successfully distribute the tornado alert on all affected platforms, as intended by ECCC.
    2. Provide a detailed explanation as to what were the issues that were in your ability or power to address on each platform.  What actions did you take to resolve these issues and in what timeframes?
    3. For all affected platforms, 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 tornado alert targeted both the province of Québec and Ontario, the responses to the above questions should also provide details of any issues experienced in both provinces and the actions undertaken to resolve them, as appropriate.

    Furthermore, the Commission has been made aware that provinces and territories have agreed to issue a second, all-channel (wireless and broadcast) public awareness test message in November 2018. The Commission acknowledges that Vidéotron did not have the opportunity to participate in the first testing of Canada’s wireless component of its National Public Alerting System as part of Emergency Preparedness Week 2018 as it did not receive the test alert from the NAAD System.  However, given the reported issues encountered during the distribution of the 21 September 2018 tornado alert, please answer the following questions:

  3. What measures have been taken by Vidéotron to ensure that its eligible subscribers (wireless and broadcast) will be able to receive the test alerts?

Responses are to be filed with the Commission no later than 24 October, 2018


Nanao Kachi
Social and Consumer Policy
Consumer Affairs and Strategic Policy          

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