Next-generation 9-1-1

The CRTC’s role

The CRTC regulates telecommunications providers. These are the telephone and cell service companies that create the networks that connect 9-1-1 calls to emergency call centres. When a 9-1-1 call is received, these centres dispatch emergency responders, such as police, firefighters, and paramedics. Both emergency responders and 9-1-1 call centres fall under the jurisdiction of provincial, territorial, and municipal governments.

Telecommunications networks have greatly evolved over the years. Today, you can do much more than make a phone call. You can also send texts, videos and photos. We want to ensure that emergency services benefit from these advancements.

These expanded services are called next-generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) services. NG9-1-1 will give Canadians improved emergency services using world-class telecommunications networks. The move to NG9-1-1 will occur gradually in the coming years.

Moving forward

NG9-1-1 will make it possible to provide additional details about emergency situations. For example, in the future, Canadians could send a video of an accident, as well as make medical information available to first responders. This will lead to safer, faster and more informed emergency responses.

As a first step, the CRTC has directed all phone and cell service companies to update their networks from analog to digital so they are ready to provide NG9-1-1 voice and text messaging services. This will enable them to carry these NG9-1-1 calls and connect them to call centres. At the same time, provincial, territorial and municipal governments will need to ensure their emergency call centres are ready for the new service.

We directed all telecommunications providers to update their networks for NG9-1-1 voice services as of March 1, 2022. We’ll keep working with them as they continue to modernize their networks to ensure Canadians have access to a secure, reliable and resilient network for emergency calls.

These updates won’t affect current access to 9-1-1. If you need of emergency help, you will still be able to dial 9-1-1 as you do today.

Switching over to the new NG9-1-1 network is an important step in new services becoming available in the future, such as real-time text messaging services. A deadline for providing NG9-1-1 real-time text messaging services to the general public will be set at a later date.

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