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TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS BEFORE
THE CANADIAN RADIO‑TELEVISION AND
TRANSCRIPTION DES AUDIENCES DEVANT
LE CONSEIL DE LA RADIODIFFUSION
ET DES TÉLÉCOMMUNICATIONS CANADIENNES
Applications to Provide an All Channel Alert Service /
demandes visant la fourniture d'un service
d'alerte tous canaux
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Conference Centre Centre de conférences
Pontiac Room Salle Pontiac
140 Promenade du Portage 140, Promenade du Portage
Gatineau, Quebec Gatineau (Québec)
May 2, 2006 Le 2 mai 2006
In order to meet the requirements of the Official Languages
Act, transcripts of proceedings before the Commission will be
bilingual as to their covers, the listing of the CRTC members
and staff attending the public hearings, and the Table of
However, the aforementioned publication is the recorded
verbatim transcript and, as such, is taped and transcribed in
either of the official languages, depending on the language
spoken by the participant at the public hearing.
Afin de rencontrer les exigences de la Loi sur les langues
officielles, les procès‑verbaux pour le Conseil seront
bilingues en ce qui a trait à la page couverture, la liste des
membres et du personnel du CRTC participant à l'audience
publique ainsi que la table des matières.
Toutefois, la publication susmentionnée est un compte rendu
textuel des délibérations et, en tant que tel, est enregistrée
et transcrite dans l'une ou l'autre des deux langues
officielles, compte tenu de la langue utilisée par le
participant à l'audience publique.
Canadian Radio‑television and
Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des
Transcript / Transcription
Applications to Provide an All Channel Alert Service /
demandes visant la fourniture d'un service
d'alerte tous canaux
BEFORE / DEVANT:
Michel Arpin Chairperson / Président
Joan Pennefather Commissioner / Conseillère
Helen del Val Commissioner / Conseillère
ALSO PRESENT / AUSSI PRÉSENTS:
Chantal Boulet Secretary / Secrétaire
Peter McCallum/ Legal Counsel /
Reynolds Mastin Conseillers juridiques
Gerard Bergin Manager, Broadcast
Technology / Gestionnaire
de technologie en
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Conference Centre Centre de conférences
Pontiac Room Salle Pontiac
140 Promenade du Portage 140, Promenade du Portage
Gatineau, Quebec Gatineau (Québec)
May 2, 2006 Le 2 mai 2006
TABLE DES MATIÈRES / TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGE / PARA
INTERVENTION BY / INTERVENTION PAR:
CARP 338 / 1837
CMOS 349 / 1904
Ministry of Community Safety and 364 / 2000
Salvation Army 382 / 2106
Rogers communications 396 / 2173
New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization 452 / 2471
CanWest Media Works Inc., CHUM Ltd. & CTV Inc. 481 / 2630
City of Mississauga 529 / 2876
City of Sarnia 533 / 2895
City of Brampton / 539 / 2929
Ontario Association of Emergency Managers
Québecor Média 578 / 3130
Telco TV 615 / 3338
CKUA 646 / 3484
Environment Canada 690 / 3707
Avis de Recherche.tv 715 / 3849
Gatineau Quebec / Gatineau (Québec)
‑‑‑ Upon resuming on Tuesday, May 2, 2006
at 0900 / L'audience reprend le mardi
2 mai 2006 à 0900
1828 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order please. À l'ordre, s'il vous plaît.
1829 Nous débuterons la Phase III de l'audience à l'instant même.
1830 We will initiate Phase III of this public hearing now. I will ask the secretary to introduce the first intervenor.
1831 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
1832 Before we proceed to Phase III, I would just like to state for the record that the applicant Pelmorex Communications filed a 7‑page document during Phase II yesterday, which includes a CBC detailed breakdown of cable capital costs compared to Pelmorex. This document will be added to the applicant's public record and will be available in the examination room for those interested to have a copy.
1833 Also, with respect to the intervenors, we have been informed that Ville de Blainville, which is Intervention No. 279, as well as the Canadian Red Cross, which is Intervention No. 24, will not be appearing at the hearing.
1834 I would now call the first intervenor to come forward, which is CARP, if they have arrived.
1835 Come forward to the front, please, for your presentation.
1836 THE CHAIRPERSON: Whenever you are ready.
1837 MR. VENGROFF: Ladies and gentlemen of the CRTC, this presentation is made by CARP, Canada's Association for the 50 Plus in support of the application made by Pelmorex for the ALL CHANNEL ALERT system, or ACA.
1838 We at CARP believe that this system will be an important and potentially lifesaving support mechanism for many Canadian seniors, particularly those who travel on a limited basis outside their homes, or who are highly dependent on favourable environmental conditions for their activities of daily living.
1839 Seniors, particularly the elderly, often living alone are more severely affected by environmental events than many others that may often take it in stride. Heavy rain, extreme heat alerts, smog alerts and even high winds can adversely affect their days and put their lives at risk.
1840 CARP is the largest association in the country for people over 50. With over 400,000 members, over 800,000 readers per issue of our magazine and millions of unique visitors per year on our various websites, we reach a wide and growing cross section of Canada. We are the voice representing over 10 million Canadians over the age of 50.
1841 CARP has been actively involved in supporting a healthy environment, reduced and hazardous pollutants, everything from automobile emissions to other airborne and waterborne toxins. We hosted an environmental roundtable in 2002 with such distinguished speakers as David Suzuki, Dr. Sheila Basrur and Hanna Strong where we presented a series of recommendations to David Anderson, the Minister of Environment of the day, a number of which have been acted upon.
1842 We continue to be very concerned about this issue and believe that it is particularly important that seniors be given timely information to enable them to deal with environmental and other threats?
1843 It may be true these days that Canadians in general are more connected and more informed than ever. Many have cellphones, personal digital assistants, radios, television, printed media, and more. Many of us use these information‑gathering devices in conjunction with other ones such as TV combined with websites for enhanced broadcast experiences, or cellphones and PDAs combined, such as the RIM Blackberry or the Handspring Trio.
1844 However, seniors today, even the more connected ones, by and large rely on traditional media, television, radio and newspaper for much of their current information.
1845 We are not here to comment on the rate chargeable to consumers for the ACA service, but at a cost of $0.08 a month per subscriber it is clear the issue is not one of affordability.
1846 Rather, our position only speaks to the necessity of the service.
1847 In supporting Pelmorex for the ownership and management of the service, we do so only to the extent that, based on our knowledge of both the requirements of such a service and the qualifications of the applicant, they would be the best at providing it at a level Canadians would expect and at a price they can afford in the shortest possible time.
1848 Our understanding as to how such a system would work would be to provide emergency information on a timely basis as events are developing, as opposed to reporting events that have already occurred. Given the nature and variation in our climate, this seems like more than just a good idea.
1849 But we also know that it is not just about the weather, and this will be discussed later.
1850 News coverage after certain events can reflect the current state of affairs post facto. Beforehand the same media can offer predictions in some cases of events yet to be played out.
1851 There is also a need, and with today's aging population a more pressing one, to be able to report on developing events in as many ways as possible in order to give the affected parties the maximum amount of time to prepare. Seniors need more time to get out of a house in the event of an evacuation. Seniors may need to obtain medication or emergency supplies if they know they may not be able to get out of the house for a few days.
1852 Others may reconsider their plans to leave the house if a severe weather alert appears on their television sets.
1853 If weather were the only concern, in CARP's opinion this would be reason enough to have this service. But, as we know, there are events where we are simply not playing the odds, as in a tornado watch where they have already occurred.
1854 I lived in Houston for a number of years and any resident, even a relatively recent one, is well aware of the large industrial plants, petrochemical plants that exist at the eastern edge of the city. The discharge of often very hazardous chemical compounds was an alarmingly regular event during my stay there and continues to this day.
1855 The potential outcome, and sometimes the actual outcomes, was more than just a ruined picnic. These events, and sometimes the evacuations that followed, were sometimes a matter of life and death.
1856 Upon reflection, many Canadian cities find themselves in similar circumstances. Many people live in relatively close proximity to petrochemical plants, smelters, pulp and paper mills or nuclear power plants and would potentially be much better off if their televisions alerted them to an industrial accident with widespread consequences.
1857 The fact that even 20 years after Chernobyl Canada doesn't have an emergency system to warn against such a similar occurrence is inexcusable. Why isn't this in place now?
1858 We must be cognizant of the power of human intervention on the environment. Terrorism, forest fires and domestic civil unrest are realities, grim or otherwise, both abroad and at home. The benefits of ACA, both tangible and intangible, could be immeasurable over the long term.
1859 In fact, not too dissimilar perceptions and sentiments existed during the height of the cold war or the civil defence era, the antecedent cause of the establishment of the Emergency Broadcast System, the predecessor to the Emergency Alert System in use today in the United States.
1860 It would be nice to think that in this increasingly interconnected society an alert system of the nature being discussed would be almost a self‑evident truth, but apparently it is not.
1861 In fact, if it were technologically possible ‑‑ and it would be hard to imagine it wouldn't ‑‑ and the will existed to extend this system to other media such as the Internet and cellphones, CARP would support that too.
1862 Another reality today is that today's senior is not as likely to be glued to the television as may have been true in much of the post‑war era. That same individual is just as likely to be chatting with friends or playing games on line, in the garden or in town, or simply engaged in an active lifestyle where notification of any adverse environmental condition should be expected.
1863 CARP thanks you for your time and consideration of our support for the applicant.
1864 THE SECRETARY: Excuse me, gentlemen. Could you just identify yourself for the record?
1865 What is your name, please?
1866 MR. VENGROFF: Yes. My name is Eric Vengroff.
1867 THE SECRETARY: The spelling of your last name?
1868 MR. VENGROFF: That is V‑E‑N‑G‑R‑O‑F‑F.
1869 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
1870 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Vengroff.
1871 Mrs. Pennefather...?
1872 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you, and thank you for coming to the hearing with your comments. They are very clear.
1873 I just have a couple of questions I would appreciate your responses.
1874 One of them concerns the point you made on the second page about the alert. You are aware, of course, of the kind of text that is being talked about in terms of the demos we had yesterday, or in the documentation regarding the Pelmorex application, what you would actually see and hear on the screen.
1875 In terms of seniors, the groups that you represent, what would be the details that they would require in the message?
1876 You mention here:
"Seniors may need to obtain medication or emergency supplies if they know they may not be able to get out of the house for a few days."
1877 Do you expect a text to go to that level of information?
1878 MR. VENGROFF: No, I think by and large seniors have (off microphone...) in some cases their age. Again, we are not talking necessarily about people who are in their advanced years. When we refer to this demographic it could be anything over the age of 55 typically, as defined by, I guess, Statistics Canada.
1879 But I guess people who have lived to this age know what they need to do when they need to do it, they just need to know what to do ‑‑ or need to know if there is a problem, if there is going to be a problem. I think they have enough judgment, by and large, to be able to decide when it's time to leave the house or when it's time not to.
1880 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you. I appreciate knowing that I know what to do.
1881 The other point I had was: What is your sense of what the local broadcasters offer in comparison?
1882 MR. VENGROFF: Well, I am not aware of anything other than what I see sporadically, I guess on television or through a radio broadcast or whatever it is. If there is a severe weather alert I may hear about it at times on the radio, but never on ‑‑ not that I'm aware of on television unless I happen to be tuned into a broadcast that is directly speaking to that point.
1883 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: One of the components of the Pelmorex proposal is a public education program.
1884 Do you have any comment on what that program should contain, what kind of information about the existence of an alert system, the contents of an alert system should be?
1885 MR. VENGROFF: I can only offer, I guess, the commentary that came out of our environmental forum back in 2002. Seniors would often be described I guess as the canaries in the coal mine. They are typically the more severely affected by environmental conditions.
1886 For example, on days when we know that there is going to be, or three is a high likelihood of there is going to be an environmental issue, for example a heavy smog day in a major urban city, then seniors are often told to stay indoors. If they have respiratory problems then are often told to reduce their physical activity if it's high heat, high smog.
1887 Conversely, if you go back to even things like where it could be a waterborne agent that is in the water, or something that gets into the drinking supply as what happened in Walkerton, again it was the older population that was more severely affected.
1888 So to the extent that any information along those lines that can be added to any sort of broadcast that directly alerts a specific population that is at risk I think would be in order.
1889 And if there is any educational information that can go along with that of course then I think that would be also in order as well, things to do that you can protect yourself against.
1890 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: All right. That was sort of what I was getting at in the first question as well ‑‑
1891 MR. VENGROFF: Yes.
1892 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: ‑‑ what over and above the text.
1893 The public education program, as I understand it, is to let people know that such an alert system exists and what to watch for. That, you think, through other media might be also available?
1894 MR. VENGROFF: Well, speaking I guess from CARP's perspective, I mean we would certainly want to assist in letting our constituents know that if there were an educational opportunity we would certainly be ‑‑ we would be there to support that.
1895 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you. Thank you very much.
1896 Those are my questions, Mr. Chairman.
1897 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you, Mr. Vengroff.
1898 MR. VENGROFF: Okay?
1899 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
1900 Mrs. Secretary...?
1901 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
1902 I would now call the next appearing intervenor, Dr. Ian Rutherford from the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, (CMOS).
1903 Dr. Rutherford, you have 10 minutes for your presentation.
1904 DR. RUTHERFORD: Thank you very much. I would like to thank the Commission for the opportunity to appear before them.
1905 As mentioned, I represent the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, which I will refer to as CMOS. We are a national non‑profit, membership‑based society ‑‑ sometimes called a learned society although I find that a bit pretentious ‑‑ but our purpose is to advance the sciences and the technology of meteorology and oceanography, and in particular their application to protecting and improving the lives and the properties of Canadians.
1906 We represent a broad segment of the profession of meteorology and oceanography, academics, students, scientists, researchers, practitioners, weather forecasters, service providers, private consultants, a whole range of folks, including people who are just interested in the weather, from all three sectors, the public, academic and private sector.
1907 So we represent people who are knowledgeable and in fact many who are heavily involved in the production of weather warnings or in the development of tsunami warning procedures.
1908 We are also involved in accrediting consultants in our two fields. We also endorse on‑air weather broadcasters who are disseminating weather information, those who meet our standards.
1909 We have a subsidiary body called the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences which provides funding to university researchers in climate and atmospheric science.
1910 So because of our involvement we are quite familiar with developments in the science and technology of weather prediction and we know that these improvements by the science and in the new technologies such as doppler radar have produced enormous improvements in the accuracy, reliability and the timeliness of warnings of severe meteorological and oceanographic events such as tornadoes or hurricanes and tsunamis.
1911 The problem is that these advances have not been matched by equivalent improvements in the public warning dissemination systems needed to bring alerts and warnings to the attention of the public. That is a serious problem, because very often many of these warnings have a very short fuse. One can predict the occurrence of a tornado at a given spot, but only with a lead time of perhaps half an hour using the best available technology. So if you don't get that warning out quickly, it's useless.
1912 Current dissemination systems are, first of all, very piecemeal. They depend on individual players, TV stations, radio stations; they are voluntary; they are fragmented; they are slow to respond; they can't really differentiate urgent situations from non‑urgent situations; they don't have the knowledge to do that. So ultimately they are ineffective.
1913 Warnings that could save lives if they were delivered promptly are delivered too late or not at all. Lives are being lost as a result. Property is being destroyed as a result.
1914 I as in charge of the weather service in 1987 when the Edmonton tornado hit. We actually produced not a bad forecast of that tornado given the technology of the day, but it wasn't carried by the media. They didn't appreciate the urgency of it.
1915 As a result of that event, the Weather Service acquired Doppler radars which essentially doubled the warning time possible technologically for tornadoes but we still do not have a dissemination system.
1916 Last year or the year before ‑‑ I forget exactly when it was ‑‑ when the Pine Lake tornado hit a trailer park in Alberta many lives were lost because people did not receive the warning that was issued.
1917 So we believe that warnings ‑‑ it is possible to produce effective warnings but it is not possible yet to deliver them effectively to the public, in spite of the good work of Pelmorex and The Weather Network and MétéoMédia who do that on their own dedicated channel but unless you happen to be watching that channel you don't get the warning.
1918 So we think what Canada needs ‑‑ and it has needed it for a long time and I think it is tragic that we haven't had it sooner ‑‑ we need a single mandatory public alerting system capable of really fast response, essentially immediate response, and it has to be able to disseminate locally differentiated warnings. They have to be clearly marked as urgent and they have to be targeted to the people affected by the hazard.
1919 Of course, we are most knowledgeable about weather and meteorological events, oceanographic events, but we believe that such a system should be capable of responding to hazards of all types whether they are man‑made or natural or a combination of the two, and often they are a combination of the two.
1920 The system has to be able to respond to hazard warning agencies whether they are local or national or international and we believe that the Pelmorex proposal allows for that to happen.
1921 In fact, we recommend that the technology and infrastructure that has been developed by Pelmorex to disseminate localized weather warnings to those who happen to be watching The Weather Network or MétéoMédia on cable TV should be extended immediately to all cable TV and satellite TV channels and to hazards of all types.
1922 It is important to note that the weather warnings that are carried now by Pelmorex are not Pelmorex content, they are content that comes from Environment Canada, the agency officially charged with issuing that kind of warning. They are mandated, funded and equipped to do that. Pelmorex is the carrier.
1923 When I listen to comments from some of the other proponents that they object to carrying Pelmorex material on top of their broadcast, I think they are barking up the wrong tree.
1924 These warnings are a public service. They are not the property of any one company whether it is a carrier or an originator. They belong to the public and they need to be carried to the public that needs to hear them.
1925 So we think that the carrying of such warnings, no matter what type, should be a mandatory condition of licence as a matter of good public policy, that the TV stations, the cable stations should be essentially forced to carry those warnings.
1926 Further, we think that the minor incremental cost of such a system should be borne by the cable or satellite TV subscribers, much as telephone subscribers bear the incremental cost of the 9‑1‑1 emergency response service, and it is even cheaper than the 9‑1‑1 service, so it is a very minor cost.
1927 So that in a nutshell is our intervention. We support the proposal by Pelmorex. We don't really care who provides ‑‑ who carries these services but we do believe that someone must do it and it should happen as soon as possible.
1928 So I would like to thank you for the chance to speak to you and welcome any questions you might have.
1929 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Dr. Rutherford.
1930 Commissioner del Val.
1931 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Thank you, Dr. Rutherford, for taking the time to intervene. Just a few questions.
1932 Now, who do you think should have the authority to decide that a warning should be issued?
1933 DR. RUTHERFORD: It depends on the warning. In the case of weather warnings it is clearly Environment Canada who is mandated to do that. They have the responsibility and the accountability to do that but they don't have the means to disseminate it.
1934 In the case of tsunamis, a Tsunami Warning System is being set up which will be capable of producing the warnings but, again, they have to be disseminated.
1935 In the case of local events, for example, a chemical spill like the one that occurred in Mississauga some years back, clearly the responsibility is a combination of local authorities, the railroad who happened to be involved in that case, whatever.
1936 But for most types of emergencies there is a clearly identified agency of responsibility and those agencies have to have access to such a warning system.
1937 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Okay. I don't know whether you have had a chance to look at the CANALERT Guidelines.
1938 DR. RUTHERFORD: No, I have not.
1939 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Okay. Their suggested definition of "authorized user" is essentially:
"public officials who have legislative authority and/or responsibility for emergency planning or their designated delegate." (As read)
1940 Do you think that is a good definition?
1941 DR. RUTHERFORD: It is not bad but it focuses on planning and planners do not have the same sense of urgency as those who are monitoring events and issuing warnings.
1942 My understanding of CANALERT is it is an agency that will set up procedures and standards but I don't think it is going to be involved itself in monitoring what is going on initially in warnings. That will be the responsibility of those who, by legislation or whatever, by agreement, have the responsibility to do that.
1943 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Okay. Would you accept a definition of "authorized user," so those who can issue the awards ‑‑
1944 DR. RUTHERFORD: By "user," you mean issuer?
1945 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Issuer, yes, which limits the access to the system to only those individuals or agencies with a mandate to monitor and inform the public with respect to threats to life. That is just making it narrower, it is only threats to life that they can issue warnings ‑‑
1946 DR. RUTHERFORD: I think it is a very difficult judgment to make whether an event affects only property and not life ‑‑
1947 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Okay.
1948 DR. RUTHERFORD: ‑‑ and I think Canadians would expect the threats to their property would be covered by such a system as well.
1949 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Okay. Now, do you ‑‑ what are your views in terms of should it be ‑‑ does it matter whether this is a government initiative, a private sector initiative or a public/private partnership?
1950 DR. RUTHERFORD: I don't think it matters who delivers the warnings and it is inevitably is going to be a combination of things. I think the role of government though is to make sure that a warning system is in place to mandate it and if necessary to make it mandatory.
1951 COMMISSIONER del VAL: And you see that squarely as the role of the government?
1952 DR. RUTHERFORD: Yes, I think so.
1953 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Okay. Who do you think in your view should be responsible for wrong signals sent?
1954 DR. RUTHERFORD: For?
1955 COMMISSIONER del VAL: For wrong signals, wrong alerts.
1956 DR. RUTHERFORD: The person who is mandated to issue the alert should be responsible for the content of that alert, recognizing that many types of alerts are not matters of certainty, they are matters of risk assessment and inevitably there will be errors made.
1957 But the responsibility of these agencies is to do as good a job as possible and I think they should be accountable for poor performance if they have been negligent and that kind of thing.
1958 One hears stories about the head of the Meteorological Service in ‑‑ I forget where it was ‑‑ Thailand was fired because a tsunami alert wasn't issued on time when in fact I think he did the best he could do with the technology available to him at the time and with the state of the science of tsunami warnings.
1959 So that sounds to me like he was held responsible for something over which he had no real control. One could argue that he was negligent in not putting in place those systems but like any official you can only make do what the means that you are provided.
1960 So there is clearly going to be questions of blame and judgments which would have to be resolved by the courts ultimately but I think the principle that people are held responsible and are accountable for their actions and for doing the best possible job with the tools at their disposal should stand but they should be punished if they are negligent.
1961 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Who do you think should be responsible, say, if the alert destined for one destination was sent to the wrong place?
1962 DR. RUTHERFORD: It should be whoever made the error. In a warning system there are many players in the chain and if, for example, the warning agency issued the warning, the basic warning for the wrong place ‑‑ and this can happen.
1963 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Yes.
1964 DR. RUTHERFORD: If you are tracking a tornado, for example, you may issue a warning for a place 10 minutes downstream in its track and it suddenly makes an unpredicted turn to the left and hits another community, then you could argue, well, that agency is responsible for that.
1965 Then they would argue whether they had been negligent or whether they had done the best possible job given the state of the science and technology and the observations and so on available to them at the time.
1966 If on the other hand a warning produced for Pine Lake somehow or other got routed to Woodstock, New Brunswick because there was a software error in ‑‑ I don't know ‑‑ in the cable TV box that does the switching, then whoever did that box should be the one held accountable for that error.
1967 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Okay.
1968 DR. RUTHERFORD: I mean clearly you have to look at what actually happened.
1969 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Thank you. What are your views on funding such a system?
1970 DR. RUTHERFORD: Well, as I mentioned at the end of my presentation I think the users of the service, cable TV or satellite TV in the case of a television service, should pay the minor incremental cost. It is not a big deal.
1971 To come back to the question of accountability, after the Edmonton tornado, I was with Environment Canada at the time and we set up an independent inquiry headed by an academic who did not work for government to look into the circumstances of exactly what happened there and where were the problems.
1972 He identified the fact that there were problems in the technology of tornado warning, which resulted in the acquisition of Doppler radars in this country, we didn't have any before that ‑‑ well, we had one ‑‑ and he also identified the difficulty in the chain of getting warnings produced by the Weather Service to the users and this was simply because there was no way to force the television stations and radio stations to issue the warning when they received it.
1973 COMMISSIONER del VAL: When you used "users" in just that sentence, who did you mean?
1974 DR. RUTHERFORD: I meant the public at the end ‑‑
1975 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Okay.
1976 DR. RUTHERFORD: ‑‑ who need to be warned, those who need to be warned.
1977 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Okay. Thank you for your time.
1978 Thank you, Mr. Chair.
1979 THE CHAIRPERSON: Dr. Rutherford, I have a question myself.
1980 DR. RUTHERFORD: Certainly.
1981 THE CHAIRPERSON: You attended the hearing yesterday or part of?
1982 DR. RUTHERFORD: No, I didn't. I wasn't here but I did listen to part of it on the audio feed on the internet.
1983 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, that is exactly the same, I think. Obviously, the CBC came with a proposal to implement an emergency alert system fairly similar to the one that is in existence in the U.S. Since you seem to be very cognizant of those systems or at least from a theoretical standpoint, do you have views on the EAS system?
1984 DR. RUTHERFORD: No, I am not technically competent to discuss the differences. I heard the discussion yesterday, the arguments over EAS versus SAP and protocols and capabilities of these boxes. I am not qualified to comment on the merits of those arguments.
1985 THE CHAIRPERSON: Obviously, the CBC proposal is a voluntary one while the ‑‑
1986 DR. RUTHERFORD: Yes.
1987 THE CHAIRPERSON: ‑‑ Pelmorex one is mandatory and I hear you loud and clear ‑‑
1988 DR. RUTHERFORD: Yes.
1989 THE CHAIRPERSON: ‑‑ suggesting that it has got to be mandatory.
1990 DR. RUTHERFORD: It must be mandatory ‑‑
1991 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
1992 DR. RUTHERFORD: ‑‑ in our view.
1993 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Dr. Rutherford. Thank you.
1994 DR. RUTHERFORD: Thank you.
1995 LE PRÉSIDENT : Madame la Secrétaire.
1996 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
1997 I would now call on Commissioner Julian Fantino from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services to present his intervention.
1998 Commissioner Fantino, you have 10 minutes for your presentation.
1999 COMMISSIONER FANTINO: Yes, thank you.
2000 COMMISSIONER FANTINO: Good morning and thank you for the opportunity to appear before you.
2001 Rather than go through my correspondence to the Commission I just thought I would highlight a number of issues that are pertinent.
2002 My role as Commissioner of Emergency Management in Ontario evolves into a good deal of proactive work as well as, of course, reactive work.
2003 We are also the body that coordinates the 444 municipal emergency response plans in the province and, of course, we are the link between municipalities, aid to municipalities that could be sourced from either provincial resources or federal resources or otherwise.
2004 So we have an overarching responsibility with respect to emergency management issues on all fronts.
2005 Moreover, we are governed by legislation and we are mandated, of course, to do certain things. There is presently a new piece of legislation making its way through the legislative process in the province which will redefine and better articulate roles, responsibilities, accountabilities and so forth. That is in the process of going through the system as we speak.
2006 The Province of Ontario has had a number of emergencies, some of them at the local level and some of these are ongoing even as I speak but there have been two major provincially declared emergencies in the province in past history, one being the SARS epidemic that resulted in some 40‑odd people being affected and dying and a whole lot of other affected individuals and institutions, and of course, the blackout were the two primary declarations of provincial emergencies in the Province of Ontario.
2007 With respect to the matter before you with regards to public alerting, it is an essential ingredient of any proactive strategy to enable us to ensure that the public are made aware and that they themselves take whatever precautions are necessary or required to safeguard themselves or family, of course, their property and so forth.
2008 The Commission will know just how very vulnerable we are in today's reality from potential threats from many sources, man‑made, weather or, of course, natural circumstances, health issues and so forth, and the notion of leaving everything to emergency providers is very, very difficult indeed without the full awareness and involvement of the public in our collective efforts to keep everyone safe.
2009 I have articulated for you a number of issues that go to why it is that we support the public alerting system. I am not here to speak to you about whether this system is better than the next system with respect to technical aspects but I do have some points that I would like to share with the Commission.
2010 Speaking for the Province of Ontario, we have some 40 per cent of the overall Canadian population in our province and along with that we have some very significant high‑risk issues aside from weather and those kinds of situations.
2011 I do wish to convey to the Commission that we need to have these alerts made available on a sustainable basis. So obviously funding will be an issue.
2012 My view is that it should be mandatory, that we employ mandatory requirements. Whatever system or process is made into use should cover as much of the citizenry as possible.
2013 I believe as well that it should be the government that decides who should participate. I would not leave it to private sector interests to determine how the public participation will be addressed in regards to such an onerous, overarching public safety issue which I believe is something that government policy needs to address.
2014 I also would like to caution that any such system should not be used for other than imminent threat information and there have to be criteria obviously, checks and balances in place.
2015 It has to be an imminent issue, something that is about to happen in the most immediate sense, and I believe that there has to be urgency to this type of situation.
2016 What I am trying to convey to the Commission is that it not be trivialized for just general nice‑to‑know information or information that is not specifically identified to a threat.
2017 Warnings should be the primary purpose. It isn't a medium with which to convey information ‑‑ the media does that already ‑‑ general information. So we are talking about threat to safety and security, imminent threat being the primary purpose, and that's what these warnings should be about.
2018 And, of course, as with Environment Canada warnings about approaching weather causes, dangers and threats, these are kinds of things that are very critical.
2019 Now we in Ontario already are governed by a number of requirements to warn the public on certain issues. For instance, we have a provincial nuclear emergency response plan that requires a warning to the citizens that are within a three‑kilometre contiguous to a nuclear plant and then there is a further requirement for a scaled‑down warning system to citizens who are in three‑ to ten‑kilometre contiguous area to a nuclear plant in the event of an emergency.
2020 Now, this whole business of public alerting is not novel. We do that all the time in different sectors, but most recently we have the Amber Alert, which is something that came into Ontario while I was the police chief in Toronto. It was the first place that we used it, in Toronto, it's now going to go across Canada, and it saved many children.
2021 You probably know all that, so I don't need to get into it with you.
2022 But by its very nature, Ontario faces a very significant need to ensure that we not only plan, but we also bring into our efforts the need to ensure that the public plans for their own safeguard and their own protection.
2023 You have seen some of the disasters that have happened when people have either not been alerted or have not taken the warnings. It just exacerbates whatever threat, whatever danger is imminent.
2024 As I indicated in my correspondence to the Commission, the thing I would like to also indicate is that every emergency or disaster is a local event, so you don't need to broadcast alerts and warnings far and wide. And as far as checks and balances, authority and control, in my respectful submission, Emergency Management Ontario is already the clearinghouse for those kinds of warnings and those kinds of emergency responses and we operate a 24/7 emergency operation centre, which is in a position to address these kinds of issues and validate the requirement, if you will, and initiate such a warning with checks and balances and accountability in place.
2025 I don't know if, Mr. Chairman, you wish me to go through the rest of my submissions, which are contained in my correspondence to you.
2026 THE CHAIRPERSON: We have read your submission, so if you may we have some questions.
2027 If I hear you very well, at the end of your presentation you said that Ontario has already has its authorized issuer of ‑‑ I don't know if you're familiar with the CANALERT program that is ‑‑ or that has been discussed yesterday, but they are ‑‑ there is a discussion about who is an authorized issuer and you are saying that Ontario has already its formal agency in order to meet that definition.
2028 MR. FANTINO: Yes, Mr. Chairman. Even with the Amber Alert, the Amber Alert has a number of checks and balances in place that ultimately requires ultimate accountability on the part of someone to have it issued.
2029 So I propose the same kind of process would be put in place as a matter of policy to ensure that all of these issues are addressed and that there be accountability for the use of the warning.
2030 THE CHAIRPERSON: And that could be done in a very short time.
2031 MR. FANTINO: It could be done, like I say, we have 24/7 operations. There is people who are there all the time and we're all in contact and depending on the issue it obviously escalates to higher authority and something like this would probably go to a higher authority, either myself or my designate in the case of Ontario.
2032 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, at the beginning of your presentation you mentioned that two major emergency event that occurred in Ontario and you talk about SARS and the blackout.
2033 Obviously nobody could have predicted that blackout, because as a matter of fact the incident occurred in Ohio and almost half of North America was blacked out. So no warning system could have prevented that.
2034 MR. FANTINO: No. I only raised that as a criteria that is used in our province, depending on the nature and the magnitude of the emergency.
2035 But you're quite correct, when the power went out a lot of the normal traditional warning systems would not have worked anyway.
2036 There is all kinds of stories coming out of Katrina as well, where once the communications broke down, batteries couldn't be charged, electricity was not available, a great deal more chaos.
2037 But, you know, some of these you can't warn people, I agree, but there are some, of course, that not only we can but we should.
2038 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, some could be predicted, as Dr. Rutherford explained just before you appear.
2039 Now, regarding health issues, do you see the validity of having warning? You mentioned the case of SARS, but was that a matter for an emergency alert or was it a matter for the broadcasters to pick up the story and follow up, as they did, when the SARS was identified as a medical problem?
2040 MR. FANTINO: Well, the type of public alerting that I think we're speaking about here would probably not fit into that kind of a scenario.
2041 Again, I raised that as stating a criteria that we have in the province for how emergencies are identified, but at any given time there could be something in a health emergency type situation that we need to warn the public about, but they would have to be imminent threats and not casual or nice‑to‑know information that could be ‑‑ that can and should be conveyed otherwise.
2042 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, I think ‑‑ I think the one that you mentioned about the required warning system that has been put in place surrounding a nuclear plant is an obvious one.
2043 MR. FANTINO: Yes.
2044 THE CHAIRPERSON: Could you briefly describe for us the process and mechanism that have been put in place surrounding the events. So the municipalities would contact you, the police forces, what?
2045 MR. FANTINO: Yes.
2046 THE CHAIRPERSON: How does it work?
2047 MR. FANTINO: Well, as you know, every emergency or disaster is primarily, at least at the beginning, a local event. If it can be managed locally it usually is done so by local emergency providers.
2048 But we are contacted, because we have a liaison, we have liaison people on the ground in the various regions right across the province, so if things are being handled at the local level we monitor, we assist, we advise, we help co‑ordinate response if there is a need for added resources to be brought in, the military, whatever, and we are in fact the direct link to federal authorities to aid of local communities.
2049 If the emergency escalates to a point where it would be declared a provincial emergency, the two I spoke about earlier, in that particular case the Premier and the Cabinet and me as the operational person would then look after the overall response to that emergency.
2050 So it could be a local level situation as long as it can be handled locally and then scaling up, we would, of course, intervene at the province and ‑‑
2051 THE CHAIRPERSON: Let's take, for example, a local event ‑‑
2052 MR. FANTINO: Yes.
2053 THE CHAIRPERSON: ‑‑ that arises, say a train that derailed and was transporting chemical and ‑‑ like happened in Mississauga a few years ago. And let's look at it from an emergency warning.
2054 The event occurs, say in Mississauga, a train derailment. Obviously the local officials are there first, because that's ‑‑ they're there. So will they be contacting your agency so that your agency will be contacting ‑‑ will be the issuer of the warning or will they do it by themselves?
2055 MR. FANTINO: I would not leave it to local decision‑making. It should be something that has a higher clearance and authority and, as I've stated earlier, part of our job is to also make sure that the proper authorities respond to such an emergency.
2056 As you pointed out, for instance, environment people have to attend. There is all kinds of agencies that have to be notified and we are basically the clearinghouse to make sure that those agencies are notified, they attend and they do the due diligence that's required in these circumstances.
2057 I would then put the authority for issuing such a public warning, public alerting, in that same category, that we would assume the responsibility, make sure that the due diligence is done and that the proper criteria and the proper accountability is in place before it goes out.
2058 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you have a mechanism that makes sure that the system is not overused, because obviously some people could see an event happening locally, but thinking it's of a great magnitude, but in reality it's a daily case that other people have to deal with. Do you have put in place some mechanism of that nature?
2059 MR. FANTINO: Well, not specifically to public alerting, because we don't have a system such as we're speaking about that we would like to go to, but as it stands now, we have override on some issues. But if I can take your mind back to the Amber Alert system, we put policy in place that governs how and when and under what circumstances that particular alert is used.
2060 Same principle should apply to any public alerting system, such as we're debating or discussing here.
2061 THE CHAIRPERSON: So those are my questions. Legal counsel?
2062 MR. McCALLUM: Yes, thank you. In both your written comments on also your oral comments today you talked about the provincial nuclear emergency response plan.
2063 I just wondered if I could say how you would envision coordination between your responsibilities under the response plan and the responsibilities of one or other of these applicants, either Pelmorex or CBC or Bell ExpressVu, if they were to disseminate the warnings?
2064 MR. FANTINO: Well, we would have to, of course, ensure that the warning was of a level that ‑‑ oh, that the emergency was of a level that required such a warning. And then, of course, we would sign off on it. We would be accountable to ensure that the warning met the standards, the criteria, and that it went out in a timely fashion, however that is to be.
2065 So we would be basically the clearinghouse for that type of information going out.
2066 MR. McCALLUM: What are you doing right now for the emergency response plan, in the absence of a mandatory system?
2067 MR. FANTINO: Well, there's a major debate going on now about sirens and other electronic devices in the homes and so forth that is a matter of discussion. It is not been determined yet.
2068 There are consultants looking at how the three‑kilometre contiguous to a nuclear plant warning is to take place and the ten‑kilometre, the three‑ to ten‑kilometre, but as we speak it looks like sirens will be the method to be used.
2069 MR. McCALLUM: So you are thinking of sirens like within three kilometres of Pickering, Darlington and Bruce?
2070 MR. FANTINO: Yes, the specification really is that there has to be within ‑‑ zero to three kilometres must provide within 15 minutes of initiation warning to practically 100 percent of the people in the contiguous zone at that time, whether they be indoors or outdoor and irrespective of the time of day or year. And then it has a lower definition for three‑ to ten‑kilometres.
2071 And basically the way that that is now being looked at is sirens up on 50‑foot poles in the community.
2072 MR. McCALLUM: And possibly house‑to‑house warnings as well?
2073 MR. FANTINO: Possibly house‑to‑house warning. There is a lot of debate about what should or shouldn't happen there, but it is being worked on as we speak between the affected local municipalities and the regional municipality as well.
2074 MR. McCALLUM: And all of these efforts will continue, in any event, regardless of what happens with the Commission's process.
2075 MR. FANTINO: Well, that's right. But, you know, that is only applicable to nuclear emergencies. So we have all these other emergencies to also worry about.
2076 MR. McCALLUM: And with Amber Alerts what you do now is deliver an Amber Alert to the local media?
2077 MR. FANTINO: To local media, the highway signs that you see along the highways. And it has been so effective it is unbelievable. And it has been used even to a greater effectiveness in the United States. Florida, for instance, have had tremendous success.
2078 But it is basically to the media, voiced out or ticker tape type on video screens or in some cases actually voicing out over broadcasts and interrupting broadcasts and so forth.
2079 MR. McCALLUM: If the Commission were to say yes to either, say, Pelmorex or CBC or Bell ExpressVu today what would you expect to be changed with the Amber Alerts in respect of notification you would make to the media?
2080 MR. FANTINO: Well, I would expect that the ‑‑ well, first and foremost, my expectation is that we do this sooner rather than later, so I suggest to the Commission that there is a sense of urgency about doing this.
2081 Secondly, my view is that the criteria should be developed by the Commission so as we have one‑stop shopping application across the land. And then I would suggest that once we are talking about an imminent threat, that that warning, however that is to be done, go over to the public in a way that it's mandatory. In other words, it wouldn't be with an optional warning. It goes out to everybody who has access to whatever technology is available that would bring that warning to their attention.
2082 So immediate, yes, imminent threat danger, mandatory, and of course to as many people as possible, through whatever system.
2083 MR. McCALLUM: So it might be the local media as well as, say, CBC or Pelmorex.
2084 MR. FANTINO: Well, my view would be that whoever, however we can reach the most numbers of people in the most immediate sense is what we should be looking at and that is why I didn't get into one technical property versus another technical property.
2085 I'm looking at it from the public's need and right to know as soon as possible about any imminent danger that they are liable to face.
2086 MR. McCALLUM: Thank you.
2087 MR. FANTINO: Thank you.
2088 MR. McCALLUM: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
2089 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Thank you, Mr. Fantino.
2090 Madam Secrétaire ‑‑ oh, excuse me.
2091 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Excuse me, I just wanted to follow up. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
2092 Just to follow up on counsel's point. I think you did say that this is a warning system and not the details and that is left to the broadcasters. And you did mention a public education component in your written application.
2093 MR. FANTINO: Yes.
2094 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: So as I understand it, you see the mandatory warning, the text warning via the broadcasters, via the BDUs, as mandatory, but in addition, it is a limited text, it says there is an imminent danger, it is that information.
2095 Anything further about what to do, anything further about what you should do when you hear the sirens, that is a public education program. Who is responsible for that? Is it your organization?
2096 MR. FANTINO: Well, we would surely undertake if that was the next phase of the warning, if you will ‑‑ first and foremost you just give a warning without some kind of information about what people should do, but I think that the people, the public can be directed to other medium to then receive follow‑up information about what they need to do or ‑‑ all depends, you know, it all depends on the severity of the issue. It may be that we need to expand the original warning to include a few other very critical pieces of information, but I would not make it, for instance, a story book kind of a warning.
2097 Warning. Do this, do that, whatever. This is why. And then we worry about the second piece as we can.
2098 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you very much.
2099 MR. FANTINO: Thank you.
2100 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
2101 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Fantino.
2102 MR. FANTINO: Thank you.
2103 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secrétaire?
2104 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
2105 I would now invite Mr. James Ferguson of the Salvation Army to make his ten‑minute presentation.
2106 MR. FERGUSON: Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to appear here today and to support the proposal for an all channel alert system in Canada.
2107 I requested this opportunity to advocate ‑‑ and I'll use "ACA" to cut down on having to say that many times ‑‑ be instituted. And just to give a bit of a context from which I come, I'll just indicate there are several reasons and, number one, I represent the Salvation Army, which is the largest provider of social services in Canada outside of government and this includes emergency services right across the country.
2108 My role in the Salvation Army is the coordination of its emergency disaster services. I say across the country, it also includes Bermuda, but that doesn't concern you people particularly, I don't think, at this point.
2109 The Salvation Army is one of the non‑governmental organizations which has formed an alliance, which includes four other agencies, the Canadian Red Cross, St. John Ambulance, Mennonite Disaster Services and Christian Reform World Relief Services of Canada.
2110 I would say that my colleague from Red Cross was planning to be here, but he or I had to go to Regina today to meet with PHAC emergency social services people, so he drew the short straw, I guess.
2111 What we have done in forming this alliance is in fact to foster a co‑operative relationship and the purpose of that relationship is to provide optimal services to the Canadian public in times of disaster.
2112 Those organizations work closely with the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada to ensure that our efforts in disaster relief operations are conducted in an environment of co‑operation and within the stipulations of governments at all levels, be it municipal, provincial, territorial, or federal.
2113 In the best practices of effective emergency preparedness there are a few basic tenets upheld by all emergency responders and I'm not going to go into all of the details or the ‑‑ try to support one over the other, but I'll simply select the key factor that has to be of prime concern to all of us, and that is human life.
2114 And basically when a disaster strikes what governs all else is that in order to accomplish the highest survival rate when a disaster strikes, individuals and families within a community must be prepared to be self‑sufficient for at least the first 72 hours.
2115 It is most opportune that this hearing is occurring in the same week as the kickoff for Emergency Preparedness Week. I think this ties in very nicely.
2116 What can organizations such as the Salvation Army and the other NGOs and government emergency preparedness agencies do to promote this individual and family preparedness and how is this connected to today's hearings?
2117 Obviously there is a need for an effective program of public education. Members of our communities have to be taught how to prepare and know what to do when disaster strikes.
2118 Equally evident is the need for the preparedness education to adopt an all‑hazards approach. The steps we would take in an earthquake are not the same measures we would take in a flood or a terrorist attack with a dirty bomb.
2119 Therefore we must keep before us the absolutely essential factor that teaching our community members what and how to protect themselves from disasters is virtually useless unless there is some way of letting them know what's happening.
2120 They need information, timely and accurate, so that they know when to put their emergency plans that they have learned how to do and that they have put into effect, what measures are required and for that to happen there are three requirements for those whoever the accurate information for the people who need that information.
2121 Number 1 is it communicate; secondly it is communicate; and thirdly it is communicate.
2122 That, ladies and gentlemen, is the reason that I have advocated for the implementation of an all channel alert system for several years now and it is why I've written to you in three different years and why I requested the opportunity to speak to you directly in support of an ACA for Canada today.
2123 All the work that emergency responders have done in recent years in promoting preparedness and educating the public will be severely hampered without the initiation of a communications network which will trigger the public's response.
2124 One step towards that would accomplish ‑‑ towards accomplishing the capacity to reach millions across Canada would be to implement all channel alert system which would initiate crawlers across the screen of every television set in the affected region, providing the critical messages of an impending disaster.
2125 As you are well aware, other countries in the world are far ahead of our country in this regard. Indeed, I can say from personal experience, as I'm sure most of you can as well, in the United States the population knows it can count on the latest weather warnings or alerts together with instructions whenever trouble is brewing, whether that be atmospheric conditions that are right for a tornado or the fact that there has been an industrial accident on First avenue and the following neighbourhoods must be evacuated.
2126 Indeed, last time I was in Florida there was flash floods alerts and those warnings came across the screen. We knew whether we were affected or not, because that was made very clear.
2127 Now, are the systems that are in place there perfect? No. And does that sort of approach meet all the informational needs of communities faced with a disaster? Not yet. And does the system ensure that people with various physical and communications disorders receive the warning? Not at all.
2128 But what the existing ACA systems do provide, however, is a very much enhanced protection to the population, the viewing public in particular, of course, which Canadians do not currently enjoy.
2129 I would appeal to you to consider in your very responsible role today these additional facts: Contrary to perhaps what we've heard earlier, it is not just in the mitigation and preparedness phases of a disaster response that ACA would be beneficial, as important as that function is.
2130 During the actual response phase people will need information about, (a), what had happened; (b), the nature of the existing dangers if any; what they should do to protect themselves; and where they can go for food, shelter, medical attention; and how they can find out about the status of family members.
2131 The roles of telecommunications facilities and systems will be absolutely critical to the possible survival of many thousands of people victimized by a catastrophic event. Providing the mandate for an ACA system would be one measure that would increase the capacity of communities to emerge with some degree of physical and emotional stability in spite of what has occurred.
2132 Disasters take many forms. In Canada we have been spared many of the weather‑related disasters that our neighbours to the south have experienced. Statistically we have evidence that this good fortune is beginning to shift and, whether due to periodic cycles or to other phenomena, such as global warming, our portion of the continent is now due for much more severe episodes of bad weather.
2133 Our country has also been spared many of the extreme expressions of political and racial discontent, but we are not immune to terrorist attack.
2134 We need to decide on means by which our population can be warned of impending risk and what measures they should take to preserve the well‑being of their families.
2135 One of the crises on the horizon right across the world is determining how to best respond to a pandemic influenza and if I may I'll make an aside here.
2136 Better information in Toronto, being one of the examples, during SARS would have been extremely helpful. I'm sure one of my previous colleagues would vouch for the fact that over 47,000 calls a day went to the hot‑line for information about SARS, because one of the largest factors that had to be dealt with was fear. People did not know. They didn't know what they were to do. They had to go looking for it. It was not being provided for them.
2137 So that, I think, is another role that could be played by this kind of a service.
2138 Many sectors within the medical and emergency disaster infrastructure have been working long and hard to prepare for this impending event, and I'm talking here of pandemic influenza. Prior to and during the pandemic, key messaging ‑‑ and I emphasize that, because that applies to all kinds of incidents ‑‑ key messaging will be vital to assisting Canadians to respond appropriately.
2139 Once again, an ACA system could be an enormous asset to getting timely messages out to a public that could rapidly descend into panic and despair without those messages. And these, the messages, could be disseminated via this technology.
2140 It was more than five years that I had the opportunity to learn about ACA and the system that was being proposed by Pelmorex. Although my appeal to you is for immediate action to move on the establishment of an ACA system for Canada and although I have no intention to express a bias in favour of one applicant over another, I can speak of the enthusiasm and corporate responsibility demonstrated by Pelmorex when they invited me to their head office to view what they had in mind for a system by which a large portion of the population could be alerted to a hazardous situation in spite of the channel that they were viewing at that time.
2141 Technically I'm not qualified to judge the merits of one proposal or another, so I would beg you not to ask me questions about that, I'm not going to be of much help.
2142 My job is in terms of helping people who are experiencing disasters and I know information is a big issue.
2143 So the responsibility of choosing is yours. I will say, however, that Canada is increasingly handicapped by the absence of a messaging service which ACA could provide, so I thank you for your concern about this.
2144 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Ferguson. Commissioner Pennefather.
2145 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Good morning Mr. Ferguson.
2146 MR. FERGUSON: Good morning.
2147 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you for your comments this morning and your ongoing interest in this area. Your expertise is valuable to our discussion.
2148 I did want to pursue one point you made regarding your example of the pandemic influenza and I think I understood a little differently from perhaps Mr. Fantino's comments that you are looking at this service as both a warning system in the pure sense of the term warning, imminent danger, and as an information source.
2149 MR. FERGUSON: I believe that is necessary and I think our experience in SARS has proven just that.
2150 One of roles that the Salvation Army was charged with was the distribution of isolation kits. On one day in particular I well remember ‑‑ and this is an experience shared by the Red Cross and by St. John Ambulance as well ‑‑ in distributing these isolation kits, we had 1200 one day. 750 were delivered. An attempt was made to deliver the other kits, but there was no one home.
2151 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Deliver to ...
2152 MR. FERGUSON: To people who had in fact been either contact with someone who was reported to have ‑‑ had contact with SARS or whatever.
2153 I think it would be a public service as well, if people were aware that there is a contact number for information, just that much, about an existing perilous, hazardous situation.
2154 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: But I understand and currently now, though, let's assume that the ACA service that we are addressing is not there, what would you do now, because would you not through ‑‑ for information, for packages that would provide further information, for support throughout, as we said earlier, a health concern such as a influenza is ongoing. It is not ‑‑ as in a tornado.
2155 MR. FERGUSON: That's right.
2156 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: So would not existing broadcast media be able to play a role there?
2157 MR. FERGUSON: That is one of the means of doing so, but to be very direct on this, there is an organization which is charged with the responsibility of disseminating information, it is an emergency network of non‑governmental organizations, interestingly enough, chaired by Public Health Agency of Canada.
2158 The reason that relationship is there is that it is deemed, and I think correctly so, that many of the not‑for‑profit organizations across the country have contacts out into the community and therefore key messages could be disseminated in that manner.
2159 That is certainly not the way you want to go for something that is urgent, however, and needs to be delivered very quickly, because it is going to take time to do that.
2160 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Okay. Let's go back, then, to the very specific warning service that we are discussing at this hearing and what I'm hearing ‑‑ what this discussion is helping us understand, I think, is the number of agencies across the country which for very good reason are involved in support in the event of an emergency.
2161 In the case of a warning system of imminent danger, if we narrow it to very specifically that discussion, in your view ‑‑ you have heard our conversations perhaps over the last day or so ‑‑ who should be the authorized provider of the emergency message, in your view?
2162 MR. FERGUSON: I think it has to be the arm of government or designate that has the expertise and the responsibility for doing so. If we are talking about a severe weather event, then it should be Environment Canada. If it is something to do with an imminent attack, then obviously it is going to be coming either from defence or another arm of government.
2163 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: It is government, then.
2164 MR. FERGUSON: In a position to do so. But I think it should be a government agency in that respect. Everything that the NGOs do in emergency services is done under the leadership, basically, of the government level in which they are working. If it is in a municipality, then it is the local mayor who is in charge.
2165 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Do you have any comment on how the alert system for the warning of imminent danger should be funded?
2166 MR. FERGUSON: Well, I certainly would support what has been said so far, because I ‑‑ I think it is appropriate in ‑‑ as I say, in a couple of days we are kicking off a campaign in which everybody will be getting a folder that talks about the first 72 hours and how to survive, because people have to take responsibility for their own welfare, and I suspect that there is not very much way you can argue against laying the responsibility for that at the feet of the people who are the consumers.
2167 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: And final question, and I promise it is not a technical question, but considering your experience in this area, is it your view that such a system for warnings of imminent danger be mandatory to broadcast distribution undertakings and broadcasters?
2168 MR. FERGUSON: Absolutely, because if it is going to have any effect it has to get out. It can't be just in a very narrow channel. Right now we are faced with that same sort of situation in that we've got very piecemeal means and if it were not mandatory then I would suggest that all we are doing is prolonging that status.
2169 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you, Mr. Ferguson. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
2170 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Ferguson. We will move to the item. Madame Secrétaire?
2171 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chair. The next intervener to appear with the Rogers Cable communications, I would invite Mr. Ken Engelhart and Peter Kovacs to come forward.
2172 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Englehart, when you are ready.
2173 MR. ENGLEHART: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the Commission. I'm Ken Engelhart, the vice‑president regulatory for Rogers Communications. With me today from Rogers Cable are to my left Pam Dinsmore, vice‑president regulatory, and to Pam's left, Peter Kovacs, the director of regulatory. To my right is Chris Lapine, the director of digital television services technology and to my far right is Suzanne Blackwell, the president of giganomics.
2174 Rogers supports the establishment of a public emergency alerting system. It is time that Canada had a system for the reasons that the various interveners have said.
2175 We are fully prepared to implement such a system if we are asked to by the Commission or any other agency or department of the Federal Government and that commitment is not dependent on funding being received for CBC or funding being received for CANALERT or any of those other things.
2176 We do, however, oppose Pelmorex's application requesting that the CRTC mandate carriage of their ACA service.
2177 Now, I have something here to show you how an emergency alerting system will work. Is that working? Yes. Thanks so much.
2178 So, as we've heard, there is really three parts to an emergency alerting system. There is the alert that comes from a government agency; there is the distribution of that alert to a cable head end; and then there is putting that alert up onto the TV screen, either through a crawl or a forced tune down to a message of the type we saw in the CBC video. So those are the three parts that you need for an emergency alerting system.
2179 We don't need Pelmorex for any of those three parts.
2180 The first part is the alerts. They don't come from Pelmorex, as we have heard. They come from the federal, provincial or municipal governments.
2181 Now, as they describe in their application, Pelmorex proposes that these agencies send their alerts to the Pelmorex distribution centre over the Internet, over a secure, encrypted, password protected Internet connection. Well, it's just as easy for those folks to send those messages to a Rogers centre, the Rogers server. In fact, it could be sent to all of the relevant servers with a single push of a button.
2182 So what we have once it hits the Pelmorex server is a whole elaborate satellite system to get that message down to the cable head end. But this is really sort of a pre‑Internet type of solution. We don't need that.
2183 Once it's at the Rogers server we can use our own distribution network to deliver the signals to our head end. That's what we do. Our whole network is a giant system for delivering things to our head end. So we can get the message to our head end without Pelmorex.
2184 Now, the last part of the equation is the head end equipment, the receivers, the character generators, the force tune equipment. Again, we don't need Pelmorex for that. They have a technology solution, but all of the major manufacturers make these things. They are off‑the‑shelf technology. They are easily buyable. We can buy these things today. There is no reason why we need Pelmorex for that.
2185 So all three parts of the equation we can do without Pelmorex.
2186 MR. ENGLEHART: So what is the problem, then, from our perspective with the Pelmorex solution?
2187 Well, the financial issue is really important. Pelmorex will be charging us $2 million a year for their EAS solution. This is a lot of money for something that we could do ourselves for far less.
2188 As you heard from Pelmorex, there are two ways of getting the message up on the screen, character generators that are much more expensive, and the force tune solution which is cheaper.
2189 If we used the force tune solution, we could buy all of the head end equipment for $1.3 million one time, so we would be paying a one‑time cost of $1.3 million instead of $2 million a year until the end of time.
2190 We will have operating costs if we buy the equipment, but we will have operating costs if Pelmorex supplies the equipment, because we are responsible for operating their equipment in our head end.
2191 One of the reasons why their solution is so expensive is that their business plan includes all sorts of costs that we don't think we should have to bear.
2192 There is a very high licensing fee of $2.6 million over their first term to their affiliated manufacturing entity; there is $5.8 million in education, communication and marketing costs; there is 41.4 million for administrative and regulatory costs, in addition to $4.5 million of general management costs; and there is $2.3 million of pre‑launch costs. These are all costs that we either wouldn't have to bear if we did it ourselves or they would be far, far less.
2193 I would also note, while we are talking about the financial model, that we believe that their revenues are understated because they have not allowed for subscriber growth. We would also note that they are making a 17 percent profit margin, which again is something that we wouldn't have to bear if we provided the service ourselves.
2194 We also have a number of technical concerns. It's not that their solution couldn't work, it's that there are a whole lot of things about the relationship that set off warning bells for us.
2195 One, they don't really have any experience as an equipment manufacturer. About half of the $0.08, about $0.04 goes to the equipment. They have never manufactured equipment before. We deal with Scientific Atlanta, GI, Motorola, big equipment manufacturers, and even there we are paranoid control freaks about the equipment we buy.
2196 So we are very worried about getting this equipment from Pelmorex.
2197 They are also in the position of planning and managing our network. That's what we do. We are a cable company. That's our core competency, is buying equipment for the network. This is not even a secondary competency for Pelmorex. And any time you put a piece of equipment into the head end, you introduce risk to our security of our network, to the reliability of our network, to the quality of our picture, and if we can control our own network then we can pick the appropriate level of risk. But if they are putting the equipment in and upgrading it according to their timetable, it injects a lot of risk for us.
2198 Another technical matter that is worth mentioning is that they have stated in their application, they can monitor the alert as far as the satellite, but they can't make sure that it got to the head end. We can make sure that that alert got to the head end, so we believe our monitoring would be more effective.
2199 Finally, I want to talk a bit about jurisdiction.
2200 As you know from our brief, we do not believe the Commission has the jurisdiction under the Broadcasting Act to licence the ACA service. The ACA service is alphanumeric, therefore it is not programming. If it's not part of a program, it's not licensed under the Broadcasting Act.
2201 But the Commission has said there are some kinds of non‑programming service, there are some kinds of alphanumeric texts that can be part of the program, but it has to be program‑related. If it's not program‑related, it's not part of the program, therefore it's not licensable.
2202 So here it is obviously not programming because it's alphanumeric text.
2203 It is also not program‑related, and you can tell that from a commonsense test. If you are watching channel 183 and a tornado warning comes across in the middle of the golf game you're watching, you don't think to yourself, "Well, I'm watching The Weather Network now", you think "I'm watching the Golf Channel with a tornado warning". So there is nothing commonsense to suggest that it's part of the program.
2204 But if the commonsense test isn't enough, the Commission has laid out in the ITV decision very clearly what is program‑related and what isn't, and clearly this isn't.
2205 So it is not licensable, it can't be the subject of a 9(1)(h) order, but that's okay. All the Commission needs to do is amend paragraph 70 of the Broadcast Distribution Regs. That's all the Commission needs to do, to permit us to delete or alter the programming signals to insert our alert messages and then we will do it.
2206 We look forward to any questions you have.
2207 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Englehart.
2208 Commissioner del Val...?
2209 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Thank you.
2210 I was just going to ask if you could shift that so I could see Mr. Kovacs. That's great. Thanks. So you anticipated my first question.
2211 One of the questions is, I have read your argument on why this is not a program or program‑related, but let's assume for a moment that it is. Now, my concern is then section 3(1)(h) of the Broadcasting Act which essentially says that:
"all persons who ... carry on broadcasting undertakings have a responsibility for the programs they broadcast;"
2212 I think none of the applicants want to be responsible for the content of the message. How would I get around the 3(1)(h) problem?
2213 MR. ENGLEHART: Well, I think ‑‑ I mean, a cable company is responsible for what they do in their network. If our server doesn't work right or our character generators don't work right, that's our problem.
2214 We are obviously not responsible for the message because we don't originate the message and the message comes from someone else.
2215 I would also point out ‑‑ not necessarily that I should be putting ideas into the Commission's head ‑‑ but if I'm right that this is a telecom service you might be able to make people responsible or not responsible under the Telecom Act.
2216 COMMISSIONER del VAL: How would I do that?
2217 MR. ENGLEHART: Well, most cable companies have some sort of telecom service, even if it's just a TV Guide channel, which is an alphanumeric channel. That's telecom. So in a strict legal sense they are telecom carriers.
2218 They have never really been much regulated, but the cable industry has had a couple of decisions dealing with alphanumeric channels where the Commission has said what we can and cannot carry and how we would do it.
2219 Even though it would be very unusual, legally, jurisdictionally, I don't think there is anything to prevent the Commission from using the Telecommunications Act to order the cable companies and other BDUs to carry an alerting service.
2220 Now, if we were making submissions to you on that, I wouldn't be asking you to make us liable, I would be asking you, under the Telecom Act, to limit our liability, because I think if we are providing a public service like this we shouldn't also find ourselves sued if something screws up.
2221 But that's how the Commission could do it, I believe, if you wanted to do it.
2222 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Now, I also gather that you are in favour of a section 7(d) amendment.
2223 Is that of
2224 MR. ENGLEHART: That is absolutely correct, yes.
2225 COMMISSIONER del VAL: There does not appear, from what we heard yesterday, to be any agreement on the issue of, say, liability for the signals. There was talk about asking and needing indemnities, but there is no agreement.
2226 If I were, say CTV, then I have a situation where nobody, no broadcaster wants to be responsible for the content of the message, and yet when you remove the critical element of 7(d), which is the requirement of an agreement before the deletion or alteration of the program, then they have no control.
2227 Why is it unreasonable for the broadcaster to have a significant concern in that area?
2228 MR. ENGLEHART: I would be very concerned if I was them, because you are affecting their signal. The fact is, if an alert message has to be put up on all channels ‑‑ it is an all channel alert ‑‑ the broadcasters of channel 87 shouldn't be able to say, "Well, you can use every other channel, but not 87."
2229 So if the broadcaster's is that the alerting should be done in a certain way and to a certain specification, I can understand that.
2230 Bear in mind, though, that as cable operators we have the exact same concern that the broadcasters have, which is that our viewers are upset as little as possible. We have the same incentive as them. We want very much, yes, to give them the alert, but (b) to be as ‑‑
2231 COMMISSIONER del VAL: As non‑disruptive?
2232 MR. ENGLEHART: ‑‑ as non‑disruptive as we can.
2233 So I understand where the broadcasters are concerned, but it's not like we have some different set of incentives that would incline us to do something different than them.
2234 COMMISSIONER del VAL: You are also advocating for voluntary participation at this point, aren't you?
2235 MR. ENGLEHART: That's correct.
2236 I mean right now if we consider section 7(d), we are actually forbidden from doing an alerting service. We couldn't do one, save and except getting all 500 channels on the 500 channel universe to consent.
2237 So right now the Commission is, in effect, forbidding us from doing it. We think it is sort of odd to go from forbidden one day to mandatory the next day. It makes more sense to go from forbidden to voluntary. I think you will find that the cable operators in Canada will respond. If the Commission says "This is something that has to be done", or if Industry Canada says it, or if PSEPC says it, the cable industry will step up. Among other things, I think as Pelmorex pointed out, it is something that is valuable to our viewers. It's a valuable service. So we will step up and do it.
2238 If you find in a couple of years, "Look, these cable companies are all talk and no action, they are not actually doing it", then I think either you or some other branch of the federal government should make it mandatory.
2239 COMMISSIONER del VAL: So then for as long as carriage is voluntary, so you have the choice of transmitting the signal or not, and if section 7(d) were changed, would you give the broadcasters an indemnity?
2240 MR. ENGLEHART: I don't know exactly what I'm indemnifying them against. I guess they would be concerned that ‑‑ I mean certainly, like we saw on the video, if you are watching Rick Mercer and suddenly you are told about an tornado, there is an interruption to the program. There is no reason to indemnify CBC for that.
2241 I suppose if our equipment malfunctions so that it is a minute or two before the viewer is back to the program, no, I don't want to indemnify CBC for that, or anyone else. I am going to operate that equipment as efficiently as I possibly can because as a cable operator it is in my self‑interest to make sure that my customers have as least disruption as they can, but if the worst thing happens I don't want to be sued by a bunch of broadcasters too.
2242 COMMISSIONER del VAL: I don't think anybody likes to be sued by anybody, but the reality is, say if I were watching on CTV Canadian Idol and I look down the chain and all I see when I'm the viewer, I see an alert. You know, it could have been an error that it should not have been broadcast to me, it could have contained wrong information.
2243 The point is that the broadcaster has no control, right. To them, they are probably in this process you could say they could be a victim. From their perspective, what does it matter who made the mistake?
2244 If you want to remove them from having any say at all when their broadcast signal is altered, do you want to indemnify them?
2245 MR. ENGLEHART: I guess I would say that, you know, we do other things like simultaneous substitution. Chris and his team at Rogers have put in a simultaneous substitution system that we are very proud of, but I wouldn't tell you that it never makes a mistake, that it doesn't clip off a bit of a program or occasionally ‑‑ I might get kicked under the table ‑‑ occasionally forget to do a substitution. I don't know if that has ever happened, but I have never heard of anyone suing us before.
2246 So as cable operators make the odd mistake, I have never ‑‑ I have never known a broadcaster to sue us.
2247 But I guess when you say they have no say, they probably have no say that it will happen, but I think they should have some say in any Commission process about how it will happen.
2248 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Thank you.
2249 Moving on, still on the legal argument side on whether this is a programming service.
2250 I think you addressed it in paragraph 38 or 39 of your intervention, but what should I make of the fact that the alert message is a severable portion from the rest of The Weather Network's program?
2251 What does that tell me about program‑relatedness, for lack of a better term, program enhancement, and how I should assess that severable portion itself?
2252 MR. ENGLEHART: Well, starting at the beginning, the Commission can issue programming licences. So a programming licensee under the Act distributes programs. Programs are sounds and images but not including alphanumeric text. So those are the only things you can licence, is people that produce those programs.
2253 Where there is alphanumeric text, well, there is a problem. The Act has just said alphanumeric text is not programming, and yet, as we have heard, there is alphanumeric text sometimes on programming services.
2254 So the Commission has looked at this problem and said, yes, that alphanumeric text is considered to be programming when it is program related, and the question is, is it part of the program?
2255 So obviously, the fact that these ACA messages are on a different channel is one of the things that would lead one to think, hum, this doesn't seem to be part of the program.
2256 The viewer watching their golf game wouldn't know that that program ‑‑ wouldn't even know what the program was on Channel 23, on The Weather Network, certainly wouldn't think that that tornado warning is part of that program.
2257 So from a commonsense perspective, the fact that it is on a separate channel is one of the things that leads you to think it is not part of the program.
2258 Then there is the ITV test and then the fact that Pelmorex themselves have asked for a 9(1)(h) order for the ACA part but not for their programming service is, I think, another piece of powerful evidence that it is not part of the program and therefore can't be considered to be programming and therefore broadcasting under the Act.
2259 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Okay, thank you. I am glad you brought up that golf channel example again. So in that example, what would you consider to be the main program in relation to the test, the three‑part test that is set up in 2004‑82?
2260 MR. ENGLEHART: For the three‑part test for this alphanumeric crawl to be program related, the program that the three‑part test applies to is Channel 23, The Weather Network. That is the program it has to be related to. If it is not part of that program or related to that program then it can't be the subject matter of a programming licence for The Weather Network.
2261 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Thank you. What do you say to the view that Decision 2004‑82 is regulatory framework for interactive TV services and therefore has no application in the current case?
2262 MR. ENGLEHART: Yes, thank you. I have got the decision in front of me and in fact if you look at it you will see that it is more than just analogous to this case, it is this case.
2263 So in the Broadcasting Public Notice, in paragraph 2, the Commission sets out what this decision is about. It says:
"One of the questions put forward for comment in Public Notice 2001‑113 was: `What interactive activities, if any, would fall within the definition of broadcasting set out in the Broadcasting Act?'" (As read)
2264 So that is really what this decision was about, which of these non‑programming type things would fall within the Broadcasting Act, the same question we are dealing with here.
2265 If you look down in paragraph 3, in the second sentence:
"For example, some parties consider that even programming consisting primarily of alphanumeric text would fall under the definition of broadcasting if that text was program related or was integral to a program." (As read)
2266 So that is the very question we are looking at today, when does alphanumeric text fall under the definition of broadcasting.
2267 The argument in the earlier proceeding was it would if it was program related or integral to the program, so the very question we are looking at today.
2268 Then we go to the three‑part test and what the Commission said for their first criterion is:
"The broadcaster's intention must be that the information be seen by the same viewers as those who are watching the video signal." (As read)
2269 So The Weather Network programming video channel, their intention must be that the same people that are watching that will also see the All Channel Alert, and clearly that is not the case in an All Channel Alert.
2270 If you look at paragraph 22 of that decision, I think it is beyond controversy because if you look at the second sentence in that paragraph it says, talking about the criterion that I just read, talking about criterion 1:
"Examples of ITV content that would very likely fail to meet the first criterion would include..." (As read)
2271 I am skipping over one.
"...would include interactive weather forecasts offered to viewers during a drama program." (As read)
2272 That is our fact situation.
"...interactive weather forecasts offered to viewers during a drama program."
2273 Now, it was talking about interactivity. So you have got an alphanumeric text that says there is a tornado coming. Interactivity just means you can click on it and something else will appear but the facts are the same.
2274 The Commission has decided in this decision that an alphanumeric weather forecast during a drama program would not meet the test, would not be program related. So I take this decision as being very powerfully on point.
2275 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Okay. Then what would you say to an argument that, but what we are talking about in an alert message is not an interactive activity and therefore this Decision 2004 has limited application, it is not directly applicable?
2276 MR. ENGLEHART: Well, it is alphanumeric text whether the alphanumeric text is something you just read or whether it is interactive.
2277 Interactive means you have some sort of a cursor on your remote and you can click on it and then you get a signal back. If anything, the interactive one is more likely to be broadcasting because the thing you get back might be a picture.
2278 So to the extent that this decision isn't directly on point, the case that we are dealing with where it is non‑interactive text is more powerfully not broadcasting.
2279 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Thank you. Do you see any facts in the current case which are different from the facts in 2000 which resulted in Decision 2001‑123?
2280 MR. ENGLEHART: I don't.
2281 I think that in 2000 the Commission hadn't really got around to thinking aggressively about what type of alphanumeric text would be part of the program or not. They made a decision at that time.
2282 In 2004 they took an in‑depth look at the problem and they came up with a more refined answer.
2283 So I guess I would say the Commission was wrong in 2000 and corrected themselves in 2004.
2284 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Okay, thank you. Could you please summarize ‑‑ because I suspect that Pelmorex would want to reply on this point ‑‑ how you apply the Pelmorex situation to the three tests in 2004‑82?
2285 MR. ENGLEHART: Sure. So the first criterion is that:
"The broadcaster's intention must be that the information be seen by the same viewers as those who are watching the video signal." (As read)
2286 So they have to intend when they send out the alert saying that there is a tornado approaching that that will be seen by the same viewers as are watching their Weather Network channel. Clearly, they don't.
2287 The whole point of an All Channel Alert is that they intend that it be seen by all viewers whether those viewers are watching their channel or some other channel. You may never, ever, ever watch The Weather Network in your life and you will still see these weather alerts.
2288 The second criterion is that:
\ "The information must be available during the same interval of time as the video signal." (As read)
2289 It is really the first criterion that is the most relevant. The second one starts to get a little bit more distant because the facts are so different.
2290 But essentially the idea is not only does that alphanumeric signal have to be seen by the same people as are watching the video signal, it has to be in the same general time period. You can't send it later or earlier or in a different segment.
2291 Now, the Commission did say that for a service like The Weather Network that operates on a wheel, that rule is somewhat relaxed. So for their alphanumeric crawls on their own channel, the Commission said the time interval thing isn't as important for a service like that.
2292 So criterion 2 I don't think has a huge relevance to the facts that we are dealing with because it is dealing with timing.
2293 Criterion 3:
"The information must be an integral part of the program." (As read)
2294 Again, it is not a ‑‑
2295 COMMISSIONER del VAL: I am sorry, could I stop you?
2296 MR. ENGLEHART: Sure.
2297 COMMISSIONER del VAL: I think the third criterion is:
"The content must have a substantial connection to the main program..." (As read)
2298 MR. ENGLEHART: Yes, you are right, you are right, you are right. I was looking at the old version.
2299 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Yes, the U.S. version.
2300 MR. ENGLEHART:
"The content must have a substantial connection to the main program, providing enhancement to the viewers of the main program." (As read)
2301 Again, it may be that The Weather Network is talking about that tornado at that time, they may not. It may be, for example, that the alert is something having to do with, I don't know, an Amber alert for a kidnapped child and in that case it may not be discussed at all on the main program. There may be no connection to the main program.
2302 So the third criterion that there is a substantial connection to the main program is, again, one that the All Channel Alert Service doesn't satisfy.
2303 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Thank you. Going to the diagram, I understand where you said, okay, the agencies can send the signals directly to Rogers. But what if the government wants to send the signals to only one source? In your example, then the agencies would need to send the signals to the DTH providers and to the telco TVs, et cetera?
2304 MR. ENGLEHART: Yes, they would but it doesn't mean they would have to send more than one message.
2305 I think when the agencies say we would like to deal with a single source, I would translate what they are saying as we don't want to send a whole bunch of messages to a whole bunch of places, we would like to send it once.
2306 When you have a system of ‑‑ when you have something like the internet, Environment Canada could have loaded into their database the addresses for all of the headends of all of the cables companies and all of the satellite companies. They then send out their alerts, all of their alerts to everybody. They just press the button. Whether that message goes to Pelmorex or whether it goes to 832 headends doesn't matter that much to Environment Canada.
2307 Then the way the system works is that message has a code, has a header, has a number and the number says there is a flood in Brandon, okay.
2308 So it goes to a headend in Fredericton. There is a server in Fredericton that says, this is for Brandon, I am not even going to read it, I am not going to look at it, I don't care.
2309 This is all done automatically by computers. It goes to every headend other than the headend in Brandon and the two cable operators and the wireless cable operator that serves Brandon. Those are the four servers that would say, oops, this one is for us. They would open the envelope, electronic envelope, the message comes out, gets fed automatically into the machine, gets popped up onto the TV screen.
2310 So the agencies don't have to have a single clearinghouse in order to have a simple delivery system.
2311 Really, you know ‑‑ stop me if I am going too far beyond your question but Mr. Temple said yesterday quite correctly:
"People are putting too much into what CANALERT is."
2312 They are viewing CANALERT as being some sort of a server or place or facility or building. It is probably not.
2313 CANALERT is a system of rules and protocols. It is a system of instructions. It is a system of codes.
2314 It tells the emergency alerting services: use this encryption technique; use this password technique; use this way of describing the geographic locations; use these codes to describe those geographic locations.
2315 It then says to the cable companies and satellite companies: you use the same encryption technique; you use the same passwords; you use the same location codes.
2316 Once those rules are in place, the system works without Pelmorex or even without the CBC. The system works because the power of the internet is such that these messages can get disseminated immediately to the headends.
2317 So once the CANALERT system is in place, we will have a seamless system where with one push of the button they will be able to alert everyone.
2318 But before CANALERT is in place, it is not like Pelmorex has those codes and protocols and things worked out either. They state in their application, we are going to have to spend 12 months sitting down with everybody working on it.
2319 So if the Commission wants to wait till CANALERT has these protocols ready, we are happy to do that.
2320 If the Commission wants us to get started before CANALERT, we will do that too because whether we are sitting down for 12 months with Pelmorex or 12 months with everyone else, we are happy to work out those codes.
2321 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Okay. But I guess I just wanted to clarify that with this diagram you are not against the government having one intermediary, in that, say, if I were in their shoes, I could take the view was I don't save, I have to send that message or programming to be sent to 800 different places, I have 800 chances of getting it wrong and all I want is I want to send it to one place and I hand off.
2322 Now, I thought that your position was that as long as you have a choice of who that intermediary would be and that is not mandated that you can only get that signal from one supplier, you were okay, but this diagram seems to give me the message that you don't want to have any other source receiving the signals, you want it to be ‑‑ I am sorry, you want to receive the signals directly from the government, not through an intermediary.
2323 MR. ENGLEHART: Not quite. I probably haven't been completely clear.
2324 First of all, you are correct that as long as it is not mandatory, we are not here to kick up a fuss. We are here to let CBC do their thing ‑‑ if Pelmorex is not mandatory, if anybody else wants to do their thing, that is great.
2325 And we might ‑‑ despite my brave words in this diagram, we might ‑‑ Chris might be persuaded that the CBC solution is best and we are going to use it or we might want to use it in our Newfoundland systems or our New Brunswick systems.
2326 So absolutely, let all these people come forward and you are absolutely correct that we have no objection.
2327 However, I believe that when CANALERT works out what it works out there will be no central repository. I believe there will be no centralized server. I believe it will be a decentralized system of the type I am describing.
2328 I should ‑‑ you know, this is really Chris's area more than mine, but I would view the central repository not as preventing failure.
2329 You said if you have 832 places to send it, you have 832 chances for it to go wrong. If you have a single point of failure, you have a single place where something can go very wrong, so ‑‑
2330 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Yes, but I know who to sue.
2331 MR. ENGLEHART: Well, that is true. But the important thing here is that if the protocols and the rules and the procedures and the ‑‑ quite frankly, the contracts, I would expect ‑‑ when I talk about protocols, I don't just mean computer protocols.
2332 I would expect CANALERT to disseminate a standardized set of contracts in the same way that the Commission has a standardized 911 contract.
2333 So I would expect all the rules and organizations in an ideal world would come from that centralized body. It would be virtually centralized, because the protocols would be all disseminated from that one federal agency. But would the individual signals go to one server before they went out to all the servers? I don't think it is necessary.
2334 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Thank you. Then in your presentation this morning you said the ACA fee includes a built‑in profit margin of 17 percent that is unacceptable for the provision of a public service of this nature.
2335 So are you in principle opposed to providing, say, public service on a for‑profit basis?
2336 MR. ENGLEHART: Well, as I say, in the world that I envision, there is no one in my picture that is really making a profit.
2337 The alerting agencies are government agencies. The police aren't making a profit. The people at Industry Canada and PSEPSI who promulgate these guidelines and these protocols, these rules and techniques, they are not making a profit. They are public officials.
2338 So because in the way I think the world will unfold, there will be no centralized database, I don't think there will be anyone to make a profit.
2339 Now, if I'm wrong and there is someone running a database, I don't have a problem with that database operator being a private sector operator and making a profit. We had ‑‑ when we set up the number portability system at one point we went out and hired a database operator and they make a tidy profit, I believe. So there's nothing wrong with that.
2340 I just wanted to clarify one thing that Mr. Lapine whispered to me, in case I misspoke before, and that is when I talked about the 832 messages, if there is not 832 messages there is one. It has 832 addresses.
2341 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Yes.
2342 MR. ENGLEHART: They press the send button once.
2343 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Thank you. Now, if the BDUs are not required to participate in a national emergency alert system and some of the larger BDUs opt out, then how would the ‑‑ what assurances will there be that the public served by these BDUs will receive a warning when necessary?
2344 MR. ENGLEHART: I mean, everyone's got to be in, I think. I think when CANALERT does what they do, they are going to ‑‑ I would say that we would try it voluntary, but if three years from now some of the major BDUs are just not playing, I would think the government would pass a law telling them they have to.
2345 If the government didn't want to pass a law, I've give you my devious scheme where the Commission could do it under the Telecom Act.
2346 I think the cable operators will step up to the plate on this. I don't ‑‑ it is time. I mean, public alerting, you don't have to ‑‑ you just have to read the newspapers to know we need it. I don't think the cable operators are going to be a big problem here.
2347 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Okay.
2348 MS DINSIMORE: Maybe I'll just add something. I think there is a tremendous amount of goodwill out there and I think that was demonstrated in spades yesterday when you heard from all those who have been involved in the CANALERT initiative.
2349 So I think it is fair to say that at the very least those who have been involved over the past five years should really be given a chance to see if they can do it voluntarily before any kind of mandatory solution is imposed.
2350 COMMISSIONER del VAL: How long do you think we should wait?
2351 MR. ENGLEHART: Well, if you have a look at the Pelmorex solution they take twelve months to build the equipment. So after they get licenced they take twelve months. They then start a gradual roll‑out.
2352 After three years OF their roll‑out they've covered 91 percent of the Canadian households and then the remainder within the next two years.
2353 So if you assume ‑‑ I don't know ‑‑ six months for the Commission's decision to come out, a year for them to build the equipment, it is sort of six and a half years under the Pelmorex system before everyone is done and it is sort of two and a half years before the majority of the country is done, so I would say ‑‑ I would give, you know ‑‑ I would give a couple of years to see if the cable operators are stepping up to the plate. If they are not I would make it mandatory.
2354 But I'd point out, too, that if each cable operator is doing their own head end, it can be much faster. You know, for Pelmorex to go to each and every head end and as they describe have to figure out each cable operator's unique configuration and how they are going to work, that is a slow, time‑consuming process.
2355 If we are all building our own, it can be much faster.
2356 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Then from your point of mandated participation, should that come from the government or by legislation of the Commission?
2357 MR. ENGLEHART: Ideally it would come from the government as part of the CANALERT initiative and, make no mistake, we would ask them as part of that legislation when they are mandating us to absolve us of liability, but that would all be included in the legislation.
2358 But, as I said, I believe the Commission has a funny way of doing it under the Telecom Act if it wanted to.
2359 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Now, forms of alerts, I'm just getting into more of the detail now, there are three approaches as to how an alert will appear on the screen. There could be a pop up message on the channels directing the subscribers to a particular channel. That is model 1.
2360 Model 2 is it automatically switches all of the boxes to the subscribers to the channel that contains the emergency alert. That is model 2.
2361 Or, model 3, you place the alert rather than the pop‑up message on all channels received by the subscribers in a designated area.
2362 So can you discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each of these three models, please.
2363 MR. ENGLEHART: Sure. So let's start with digital and then we'll do analog second.
2364 In digital most cable operators have either GI boxes, General Instruments or Scientific Atlanta.
2365 If you have GI boxes, it is a forced tune solution, your second solution. That is through for us, that is true for Pelmorex, that is true for everybody. There is no other way with the current GI boxes other than a forced tune.
2366 If you have Scientific Atlanta boxes, you have a crawl. So that is how it would work with Scientific Atlanta.
2367 For analog, you have your choice. You can have either the crawl or you can have the forced tune.
2368 As Pelmorex described, the forced tune is a lot cheaper. For all of our systems we estimate we could put in the forced tune for about 1.3 million dollars one time. If we had to put in character generators it would probably be 4 million or 5 million dollars one time.
2369 Now, the advantages of the crawl is that it is less intrusive, it is less annoying for people. The disadvantage is (a) the cost, as I already described, and (b) it probably isn't as effective as an alert. Like, with the forced tune by God you know something has happened and you are paying attention to it and you are not ignoring it.
2370 So we will do really whatever we are asked to do. If the Commission wants us to do it one way or if the CANALERT people want us to do it one way, we'll do it, but our preference would be for the analog service that we would use the forced tune and we say that because in the same way that Pelmorex talked about Videotron's interest in an all‑digital solution, they are saying, well, the era of digital is fast approaching. Analog's days are numbered. Nowhere is that more true than for Rogers. We have a huge penetration of digital boxes already. We are aggressively moving to get as much digital as we can.
2371 So during the brief life that analog has left or the medium‑term life that analog has left, we would rather spend the 1.3 million than spent the 5 million and use the forced tune solution. But even if we spent 5 million, you know, we would rather do that than pay 2 million a year, because it pays back in two and a half years. So we can do it either way. There is puts and takes for both.
2372 We might even find if we start to roll out forced tune and there is a lot of customer complaints, we might switch to character generation. But that is our thinking to date.
2373 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Then what be model 1, where it pops up a message telling you to tune to an alert channel?
2374 MR. ENGLEHART: Mr. Lapine confirmed for me that the pop‑up is just a satellite solution. That is not something cable does.
2375 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Okay. Thank you.
2376 If a mandatory alert system were approved, what would be the potential implementation problems that you foresee and what could be done to forestall them?
2377 MR. ENGLEHART: The really important work is in those protocols and codes and routes and all the rules. That is the tricky part. That is the part that CANALERT needs to do. And, as I say, if Pelmorex goes ahead before CANALERT they need to do all that, too.
2378 You need to have the system fully automated for it to work properly. That means the servers having to speak the same language, the encryption has to work the same way, the passwords have to be synchronized. Everything has to be done properly with the rules.
2379 And that is why you heard people like the CBC and ExpressVu saying to you yesterday, well, all this is contingent on CANALERT, because they are just saying that the prospect of them trying to figure out all those rules is daunting.
2380 But once the protocols are in place, once the system of rules are in place, and the rest of the picture is there, the servers, the receivers, the character generators, the system should work fairly easily.
2381 The receivers and the character generators and the forced tune equipment, this is pretty robust tried and true off‑the‑shelf equipment.
2382 Having a server open up a message and transmit it to a receiver, it is not that daunting a task. So I don't want to underestimate the hard work that people like Chris do every day to put pictures up on the screen, but I would say that the tricky part of a mandatory system is the protocols and that is what we need help with.
2383 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Thank you. Does the provision of alerts on on‑demand services present any technical difficulties?
2384 MR. ENGLEHART: It does. Mr. Lapine can explain it to you, if you want.
2385 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Please.
2386 MR. LAPINE: The issue with video on demand, we can get the message to the customer, so the customer will see the alert, but we interrupt the processes and the infrastructure that is supporting the video on demand application, so we have to go back to our suppliers and address their software, so that it can recover elegantly and place the customer back into the video on demand experience.
2387 At this point in time it would tend to be a little bit more interfering than we would like. So the message does clearly get to the customer, but the return experience is less than desirable at this point in time.
2388 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Thank you. So the software and the equipment isn't really equipped to deal with that yet.
2389 MR. LAPINE: That's correct.
2390 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Okay. Thank you.
2391 If equipment had to be tested and installed in your head ends and uplinks for distributing the alert, do you see distributors being given sole responsibility for the head end project or do you envision shared responsibility between the private sector, the distributors and the government?
2392 MR. ENGLEHART: Well, again, I'm not sure that the government will be using any sort of satellite distribution system, but as a general rule, yes, we like to test each and every piece of equipment that goes into our head end and make sure that it is the right thing and know everything about the specifications. So, yes, that is something that we would generally like to do.
2393 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Okay. And would that be something you could do on your own or would you see something like a CISK process, the CRTC interdepartmental steering committee process, do you see the need for a process like that?
2394 MR. ENGLEHART: I'll let Chris add to my answer after I'm finished.
2395 Generally speaking, the last thing any of us need is a bunch of new committees. And that is one of the minor things that troubles us about the Pelmorex application, is all the committees in there.
2396 That having been said, and Chris can explain this to you, cable operators already cooperate, both in Canada and in North America, through cable labs and also with manufacturers to understand more about the equipment. But I'll let Chris explain that to you.
2397 MR. LAPINE: There already is participation on the technical side with CANALERT to understand how the protocol is to be established and with the vendors also attending those meetings to make sure we have a universally‑applied system, such that CANALERT and the CAP protocol can deliver alerts to not only cable and ExpressVu and other BDUs, but also the cellular environment, et cetera, so it is quite a wide spanning, so there is participation at the committee level to understand the protocols.
2398 From a pure technology point of view, any technology that comes into a Rogers head end undergoes extensive hardware and software evaluations in the magnitude of months to half a year to sometimes a year, depending on the technology, to ensure it does prove its reliability to us and that we can put it through all kind of environmental testing and other software testing to really hammer the product to make sure it will stand up the test of time and deliver constantly to our customer base, including redundancy and recovery mechanisms should there be power instances, et cetera, to ensure it is fully reliable.
2399 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Thank you. Now, if the national emergency alert system is a shared responsibility between government and private sector, you would have some costs. Now, how would the private sector recoup its costs or would you absorb it all?
2400 MR. ENGLEHART: In the world that we operate in, you know, our prices for our products and services are set by market forces, so I suppose you could say that because the customer cease more value in the cable network they might be willing to pay something more for their cable services, but I think for the most part we will absorb those costs.
2401 This is, I think for us, a cost of doing business and it is a good ‑‑ it is a thing that good corporate citizens would do, it is also good for our customers, so I think this is just part of the cost of doing business.
2402 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Thank you. You are on the home stretch now.
2403 If despite the concerns you have raised the Commission determines that the ‑‑ that distribution companies must participate in the national emergency alert system, what distribution orders and regulatory change would be necessary?
2404 For example, should it be a issuance of a 9(1)(h) order, as suggested by Pelmorex, or should it be an amendment to the distribution and linkage rules?
2405 MR. ENGLEHART: The trouble with my legal analysis that the ACA service is telecom, means that not only can you not licence Pelmorex to do it, I'm not sure you can mandate us to do it under the Broadcasting Act. So first of all, of course, you have to amend 7(d) of the regs to allow us to do it.
2406 As I say, I think the only way you can order us is under the Telecom Act. I believe you can order us to do it under the Telecom Act. Some of my colleagues in the communications bar don't agree with me, but that has happened before.
2407 So I think you could do it under the Telecom Act. I think if you, you know, issued a stern public notice telling us all to do it, we'd all do it, but if you want to give it the force of law, I think you would have to go under the Telecom Act.
2408 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Thank you. Some say that the Commission should decline to consider the application. This type of application, because they deal with public alerting, a matter that is outside our expertise and while various organizations have this expertise, it is ‑‑ but it is the Commission that has to administer the Broadcasting Act.
2409 So without the Commission's involvement, how would these organizations ensure the broadcast and distribution of alerts?
2410 MR. ENGLEHART: I sort of have some sympathy with the view that the Commission has not developed a lot of expertise in alerting over the years. Your counterpart in the United States, the FCC, has for many years ‑‑ believe it or not, within the FCC there is a Department of Homeland Security, so they have that right in the FCC.
2411 Now since the broader Department of Homeland Security has been created, that department has shrunk a bit in the FCC, but they have been an emergency alerting group with expertise.
2412 Obviously the Commission has a huge amount of expertise in broadcasting and telecom, but hasn't dealt with alerting that much.
2413 To our way of thinking, you know, the CANALERT initiative sponsored by Industry Canada, they are the correct people to manage this process. The Commission staff attends those CANALERT meetings and can give input from the Commission's perspective on any broadcasting or telecom issues and I would expect would bring back to the Commission any problems that they perceive.
2414 So to our way of thinking that is the best way of dealing with it.
2415 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Thank you. Mr. Chair, I would just like to consult with counsel for a minute. May I?
2416 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, I know that Commissioner Pennefather wants to ask questions. Vice‑chairman Arpin wants to ask questions and I know that the legal counsel wants to ask questions, so you have a few minutes maybe to talk with the counsel while we are asking our questions.
2417 Commissioner Pennefather?
2418 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: You discussed the amendment to 7(d) as it ‑‑ the Commission only needs to amend paragraph 7(d) of the Broadcast Distribution Regs and to permit deletion or alteration of programming signals.
2419 I'm sure you are well aware the broadcasters don't see it as quite so simple and that this is rather an important point.
2420 My question is quite specific. Do you have suggested wording for an alteration of the ‑‑ of section 7(d) of the Broadcast Distribution Regulations?
2421 MR. ENGLEHART: We think the wording that the CBC proposed works well. We put that into our brief and we are willing to go along with that.
2422 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Why do you feel that wording would address the concerns of the broadcasters, that this is the thin edge of the wedge?
2423 MR. ENGLEHART: Oh, I don't think it would address their concerns. I mean, the broadcasters do not want their signal interfered with. Make no mistake about it. If we go ahead with an all channel alert service, this is going to annoy the broadcasters. They are going to view it as an intrusion. I mean, you'll be hearing from them later in the day.
2424 But I think their opposition is just a natural consequence of having an all channel alert service. It is something that we are just going to have to experience.
2425 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: And you would say the same thing possibly if we, the Commission in its wisdom, decided to require mandatory carriage of the signal by the BDU, by the distributors?
2426 MR. ENGLEHART: I think we are going to do it anyway. If you mandate us to do it or if it is voluntary, we are going to do it, so you can make it mandatory. It doesn't matter that much to Rogers, because when we do something we do it.
2427 I just don't think it is necessary to mandate it. I think that good corporate citizenship will prevail, but if the Commission feels that in the ‑‑ or the Federal Government feels that this is too important a matter that even one cable head end being left out is one too many, that is okay. I mean, we have lots of mandatory requirements on us and we do them.
2428 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
2429 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner Pennefather.
2430 You alluded to the U.S. and I'm sure that you're following up what they do. You addressed the question of VOD and it was a trigger to my mind what are the BDUs doing in the U.S. on their VOD services when comes an alert?
2431 MR. ENGLEHART: Chris?
2432 MR. LAPINE: I'm not at this point in time aware of what the manufacturers are doing. They deal with the same vendors would do, Scientific Atlanta and Motorola, so I suspect that they'll be putting the same pressure on those.
2433 VOD environments are software related, so it involves many players. For example, you have to introduce the VOD supplier and their software to make sure that they recover as well. So it is not just limited to two vendors. There would be multiple vendors and multiple software that have to get together and solve this problem.
2434 There definitely ‑‑ at this point in time I would make the assumption they are looking at the issue.
2435 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. We heard earlier this morning Mr. Fantino from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services of Ontario talking about the nuclear plant and their requirement that ‑‑ I guess I think you are providing cable servicing around Pickering ‑‑ and their requirement is that immediate alert is given to all people living within a three‑kilometre around ‑‑ surrounding the nuclear plant.
2436 Are your distribution plan capable to meet that requirement?
2437 MR. LAPINE: In an analog environment we would cover most likely more than the Pickering area in notification to the customer base, so the message would be a little bit larger base.
2438 In a digital environment we can isolate down to specific areas in that zero‑ to ten‑kilometre range with specific messages that would go to that environment. That is due to the fact that we have a Scientific Atlanta set up box in Ontario.
2439 If that nuclear plant was in New Brunswick the message would be a little bit less controlled because of the forced tune environment, but it can be that geographically located.
2440 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Well those were my questions. So counsel?
2441 MR. McCALLUM: Sorry, just on the question of amending section 7(d) of the regulations you said you would go along with the CBC wording, but the CBC wording, as you know, for example in the agenda the wording is there and they propose for the purpose of transmitting an authorized emergency public alert message and I wondered if you had any thoughts on how the Commission would define an authorized emergency public alert message if the Commission were inclined to do that amendment?
2442 MR. ENGLEHART: Well, if CANALERT ‑‑ you know, they have a definition, you could use that. I think that would probably be the best way.
2443 MR. McCALLUM: Okay. If the Commission decided ‑‑ and let's go with your time frame ‑‑ in six months that it decided we are going to amend this section of the regulations and the proposed wording at that time and supposing the Commission decided out of this process not to do anything else, it amended the regulation and that is it, as you know we would have to propose the wording for the change to the regulations and say four months later the wording could be put in place, so that, just hypothetically, that is the time frame in early 2007.
2444 If that happened how long would it take Rogers to put together its own emergency alerting system and, second, would Rogers actually go ahead with it because in that specific scenario it would not be mandatory.
2445 MR. ENGLEHART: Mr. McCallum, in your hypothetical, is someone asking us to do it? Like, I've always assumed we would do it when either the Commission asked us or Industry Canada or PSEPSI, so that would sort of be from my perspective the triggering event.
2446 MR. McCALLUM: Well, in that specific scenario it would be ‑‑ which is hypothetical ‑‑ it would be permissive. The Commission would be amending the section of the regulations, as you've requested, in order for this to happen, to permit it to happen at the choice of BDUs.
2447 So in that scenario, what would happen?
2448 MR. ENGLEHART: I mean, I think the triggering event would not be the amending of the regs, it would be being asked. A letter from the Minister of Industry or a letter from the Commission, something like that.
2449 From the point at which we were asked I think it would be about a year before we started to roll out the service.
2450 MR. McCALLUM: So even in the scenario that you're putting forward and the Commission amending the regulations to permit it to happen, Rogers would not necessarily undertake to put in place the system that is described without some other triggering event, letter from the Minister or something from CANALERT or something else.
2451 MR. ENGLEHART: I think that's right. I mean, there is lot of ‑‑ I mean, I don't think I'm being unreasonable. There is lots of things we could do or perhaps should do, but something like this with a strong public component, we would expect some public official to say to us, this is what you should be doing. We shouldn't be deciding for ourselves to do this.
2452 As I say, we don't need to be ordered, but we would expect someone in authority to say it is time for you to do this and we've thought that should be a federal authority. I suppose if the Province of Ontario asked us to do it, we might consider it doing it there too, but yes I would think we would want to be asked.
2453 MR. McCALLUM: Again, if the Commission went one step further and accompanied the permissive change to the regulation with an expectation that cable systems where they are able to implement alerting systems, that they should do so without it being required, in that scenario would Rogers start to implement ‑‑ and again without anything else from CANALERT or the government.
2454 MR. ENGLEHART: Absolutely. We would ‑‑ once the Commission identified that expectation then we would start to work on acquiring the equipment and provisioning the head ends.
2455 Simultaneously, just like Pelmorex, we would have to agree on the codes and protocols and rules with the people that were sending us the alerts, unless that had already been promulgated by Canalert. So we would do both of those things and I would think it would take us about a year to start the alerting.
2456 MR. McCALLUM: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
2457 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Englehart, ladies, gentlemen, thank you very much for your presentation. We'll take a twelve‑minute break so we'll be back by 11:45.
2458 THE SECRETARY: Excuse me, Mr. Chairman, just a couple of housekeeping matters before we proceed to break.
2459 I would just like to remind the applicants that they have an undertaking to provide the Commission with certain commitments, certain documents this morning, so if you have them available, you can bring them to me at the break.
2460 Also remind the next three interveners, Ville de Dolbeau, the Township of Champlain and Alfred‑Plantagenet and Federation of Canadian Municipalities, if they are present and they have their written presentation if they could bring them to me during break.
2461 Thank you very much.
‑‑‑ Upon recessing at 1134 / Suspension à 1134
‑‑‑ Upon resuming at 1150 / Reprise à 1150
2462 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order, please. A l'ordre, s'il vous plaît.
2463 Somebody just brought me a cellphone that somebody left on a sofa in the hallway.
2464 I will remit the cellular to this gentleman, if it's yours.
2465 Other than that, I'm asking Mrs. Secretary to initiate the next steps.
2466 LA SECRÉTAIRE: Merci, Monsieur le Président.
2467 Je demanderais maintenant à la Ville de Dolbeau‑Mistassini, the Townships of Champlain and Alfred‑Plantagenet and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to come forward as a group presentation.
2468 THE SECRETARY: We will move on to the next intervenor, which was later down at the bottom of the list but who has to leave. It is the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization, Ernest MacGillivray, which is No. 23 on the list.
2469 If you could come forward?
2470 THE SECRETARY: Mr. MacGillivray, you have 10 minutes for your presentation.
2471 MR. MacGILLIVRAY: Thank you very much. Thank you very much, and thanks for accommodating a change in the rotation.
2472 My name is Ernest MacGillivray. I am the Director of the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization. That organization is the provincial lead agency for emergency management. As the Director, I am the senior official responsible for the Provincial Emergency Management Program. The Provincial Emergency Program includes a number of warning systems, including a telephone‑based system for our nuclear emergency planning zone, and a province‑wide direct‑to‑cable broadcast system.
2473 We also have a self‑subscription system that is in development.
2474 New Brunswick is also an active participant in national initiatives on public warning, including CANALERT, the development of the Canadian Common Alerting Protocol, or CAP standard, and the East Coast Tsunami Project.
2475 So thus I appear before the Commission as a public official with a policy perspective, but also as one who has direct experience in the development, deployment and operation of a variety of public warning systems.
2476 Emergency managers generally ‑‑ and you will hear from many today ‑‑ recognize public warning as key to reducing injury and loss of life, as well as mitigating impacts on properly and the environment.
2477 It has been said that the security of the public is the highest law. Cicero said that.
2478 To that end, we believe that the regulator ‑‑ or we might be more general in that and say that government should act to enable the development and deployment of systems to provide public officials at all levels ‑‑ and in this I might differ from my Ontario colleague, we have to provide access to municipal officials as well ‑‑ to multiple channels for the purposes of broadcasting urgent warnings to the public.
2479 What is the rationale for public policy in this area?
2480 Well, as a matter of principle those with the mandates ‑‑ and that is government and industry ‑‑ and those with the means ‑‑ and that is the owners of broadcast media ‑‑ have an obligation to act, to warn the public at imminent risk by all means possible.
2481 Given our wealth as a nation, our advanced telecommunications and broadcast systems, it is reasonable to ask: Why are we not doing so?
2482 We are not doing so because we do not require it. I should say mandate it. We have not enabled it, as some people before you have argued, and we have not resourced it in any meaningful way. We need to address these deficiencies.
2483 So we have a voluntary system now, which is really no system at all. A purely voluntary system hasn't worked up to this point and, in my view, probably won't work.
2484 I would argue from a public policy perspective that as a matter of principle those who derive opportunity and reward from their broadcast licences and from the allocation of publicly‑owned spectrum, have an obligation to act in the public good. It follows that it is in the public interest to require that national and regional broadcasters participate in all channel alerting initiatives as a matter of public policy.
2485 We also recognize that there needs to be a policy framework to enable authorities and broadcasters to connect in a consistent way, with appropriate security safeguards and business roles. We should enable, encourage and support Industry Canada's efforts to develop and administer national operational policy. That's why you will find that virtually all provinces are actively participating in the development of CANALERT.
2486 Finally, we recognize that broadcaster can't afford to make the necessary investments as there is no business case.
2487 Listening to the gentleman from Rogers, I got the impression that this is fast, easy and cheap if just someone would make it easy for him from a regulatory standpoint. But it's not fast, easy and cheap. There is a requirement to expend money, capital on the front end, in order to create the connectivity between messages and systems.
2488 So can we afford to wait?
2489 Some intervenors have suggested that CANALERT will provide the needed connectivity between officials and broadcasters, thus we should just wait for CANALERT.
2490 The problem with that is that CANALERT is still an idea. It is not yet a system. In fact, there isn't a system architecture as yet. CANALERT is still at the conceptual stage. In fact, when I'm being a little unkind I have said it's still in the PowerPoint stage.
2491 Eventually, though, CANALERT should provide a program. It should be a program. It should provide the governance, the policy and the operational linkages between users and system. But these systems and services still have to be built.
2492 CANALERT by itself is not the system, it is the program. CANALERT may eventually be able to provide the console that provides authorized users access to systems, but we still have to build and deploy those systems, and we should get on with it.
2493 Most developed nations already have public warning systems accessible by government officials at all levels. Canada does not.
2494 Given the spectrum of natural and human‑induced risks and hazards facing Canada today, and given Canada's telecommunications capabilities and expertise, we believe that public warnings should be enabled, governed and resourced as a matter of public policy. To have failed to do so in the wake of a catastrophic event would be difficult if not impossible to defend.
2495 So we have the following recommendations.
2496 First, we welcome the initiative and commitment demonstrated by the various proponents all channel alerting applications. In each case, proponents have sought to address requirements as they saw them within their mandate and capabilities. It's clear that their efforts need to be enabled in policy and resourced. Given the absence of a commercial business case for public warning, some source of public funding is required.
2497 In consideration of the merits and risks of the various applications, New Brunswick believes it is essential that any proposed national public warning system, including any all channel alerting system, satisfy the following requirements.
2498 There needs to be appropriate governance and managed control of access and use. We have to have simultaneous broadcasts to affected areas in both official languages.
2499 Simultaneous broadcast over multiple services and channels ‑‑ this is not really just about cable ‑‑ in order to reach as many of those affected as possible.
2500 Sufficient geographical specificity such that the system will meet the needs of local governments, i.e. municipalities and First Nations. The municipality will tell you they want to be able to warn people on the north side of the river, but not the south side.
2501 One of the proponents is talking about geographical areas that would encompass numerous municipalities. That's problematic.
2502 Mandated participation by service providers and cable or satellite distributors in order to provide a consistent level of service throughout the country.
2503 I think it's great that some commercial interests may well be willing to do this on their own in one area of the country, but that's really not good enough. For consistency I think we have to have mandated participation.
2504 At what point do you regulate or do you require it, that's open to debate obviously.
2505 Finally, we think a funding mechanism is necessary to ensure that cost is not a barrier to full participation by broadcasters, service providers, distributors and authorized users.
2506 In many cases you have small operators. They don't have the deep pockets that some of the larger ones do, so they would need help.
2507 New Brunswick believes that the public interest will be best served by a fully funded service that provides managed access to all cable and satellite channels by authorized officials at all levels of government. The applicants should be required to demonstrate how their proposals will address the above mentioned requirements.
2508 Finally, I would just like to note that in January 2005 the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers Responsible for Emergency Management met in Ottawa. In fact, it was the first meeting in 11 years. There is a lot of work to do, to catch up on. They identified public warning as one of eight priority areas for joint work by federal, provincial and territorial officials. That, in essence, was what crystallized activity that was already going on into what is now known as CANALERT.
2509 The Ministers expect, as the public expects, that we will collectively sort this out in a timely way.
2510 Thank you.
2511 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. MacGillivray.
2512 Commissioner del Val will ask you some questions. Thank you.
2513 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Thank you, Mr. MacGillivray, for taking the time to intervene. I just have a few questions. I will start with funding, since that was the last point that you ended on.
2514 Who, in your view, should be responsible for funding the initiative, the initiative in getting the alert signals through the broadcasting system?
2515 MR. MacGILLIVRAY: A complex issue. Some of the larger expenses will be for the last mile, so the last mile gets hard. To have a national program that has national governance and policy, and so on, will require some funding. So one would hope that Industry Canada will be successful in getting some funding, or PSEPC more jointly for the CANALERT initiative, because we do need program design and development and that costs money.
2516 To their credit, they have been doing it off the corner of their desks for a number of years and they now need some relief.
2517 There are a couple of ways of doing this. One is from the public treasury, sort of top down, "Here is money, go do this. Go build it to specifications", and so on. That sounds a bit onerous.
2518 It may be simpler to define what the reasonable costs are associated with provisioning a service, whether it's at the distribution end or whether it's at a provincial level where the applications are, and then figure out a business model that distributes the costs fairly across governments, broadcasters, and so on, and where people are interested in something above and beyond what might be pushed to them, subscription services, I think people wold be willing to pay, and studies have shown that people would be willing to pay a convenience fee for alerts that are of interest to them.
2519 I will give you one specific example. In the United States Amber Alerts, which are always enabled for public access to the various systems that are used to generate the message, Nextel picks up those messages from a publicly accessible place out there on the Internet somewhere, and they rebroadcast those to subscribers over cellular services using SMS. People pay for that service.
2520 So I don't think there is any single answer to that. I think you have to get a bunch of people around the table, look at what the best business model is that is going to least inconvenience any of the parties.
2521 What I would add to that, though, is if we just get funding for CANALERT and we do nothing else, who builds the last mile? That would be very difficult ‑‑ is in Alberta very difficult, and New Brunswick, because the resources just aren't there to do it.
2522 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Along the same lines, if the private sector participated in funding the costs, do you have any views whether it should be on a non‑profit basis or is it as long as it is cost‑effective it doesn't really matter?
2523 What would your view be on that?
2524 MR. MacGILLIVRAY: Well, not arguing for or against. I think there is ‑‑ forgive me, I have a military background.
2525 I think there is a little smoke on the battlefield in that issue, because if you talk to people within Pelmorex, and I have, this 17 percent thing that's kind of touted as being a little bit excessive, at the same time they will tell you that they don't expect to actually make any money. So it's all how you evaluate the business model, what criteria you apply in terms of defining what is profit.
2526 But the issue with whether it's Rogers or Pelmorex or anybody else in the cable business, they have a huge capital cost on the front end. So there is the outlay of money, the lost opportunity costs, the sustainment of the infrastructure, pretty hard to quantify.
2527 That said, I think I have a line, I just have to find it.
2528 I think the public's right to know is more important than a corporate interest and an inconvenience or a cost to that corporate interest, particularly if that corporate interest is deriving profit.
2529 So we don't want lack of funding to be a barrier. I don't think that people should be in the public warning business seeking profit, but I wouldn't qualify as I understand any of the proponents applications in those terms. It think it is just a question of making sure that they don't run in the red excessively in the absence of a level playing field.
2530 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Thank you.
2531 Now, what is opinion on who should be the authorized issuers of the alerts? Who should decide when an alert should be issued?
2532 MR. MacGILLIVRAY: Well, I believe that you need to have a distributed access model, first of all, where an authority at a senior level ‑‑ let's say for the sake of argument the Government of Canada if we are talking about a CANALERT‑sponsored solution ‑‑ they would authorize different provincial users to be on that system.
2533 Traditionally, and I think legislation at the provincial level will support this, it is provincial government officials responsible for emergency management, or indeed the police if you look at Amber Alert as a specific case, or local authorities as empowered by provincial legislation. So most provinces have an Act with respect to emergency management, my province does, and essentially municipalities have the same responsibilities within their boundaries that the province has generally.
2534 That said, and given that all emergencies are local, you need to empower authorized users at a municipal level, you have to have authorized users at a provincial level, and I think you need to let the provincial authorities decide who the provincial actors would be, and you need to let the municipal authorities decide who the municipal actors should be.
2535 That's what distributed access is about. So you create different classes of users and they in turn can assign rights to lower levels. That in fact is the U.S. model. That's how it's done.
2536 COMMISSIONER del VAL: So CANALERT, their proposal is for what they call authorized users ‑‑ it is actually authorized issuer ‑‑ is public officials who have legislative authority and/or responsibility for emergency planning.
2537 Do you agree? Would you add to that or take something away?
2538 MR. MacGILLIVRAY: I probably should have waded in on that point earlier because we were in fact consulted on the guidelines.
2539 We typically talk about emergency management. Planning is an aspect of preparedness, preparedness is one of four ‑‑ or if you're a heretic five ‑‑ recognized principles in doctrine of emergency management.
2540 So the old model was to talk about emergency planning. We don't talk about emergency planning any more, we talk about emergency management as a program and systems approach to the prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery related to emergencies. So I would just change a word there and it's probably close to being correct.
2541 COMMISSIONER del VAL: You would change "planning" to "management"?
2542 MR. MacGILLIVRAY: Yes. I think most legislation now, particularly the draft federal legislation, the revised Emergency Preparedness Act, is now in fact called the Emergency Management Act, and I believe the new government has the intention of resubmitting that to the House.
2543 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Thank you.
2544 Then in the emergency alerts, do you think we should limit it to only incidents that pose threats to life as opposed to also property?
2545 MR. MacGILLIVRAY: There are really two things going on there. You have the actual message content, and if you are familiar with the CAP protocol, CAP talks about the urgency of the message, it talks about the probability of the message. I have my CAP expert sitting in the back of the room.
2546 There is provision for geocoding and different types of messages or what are commonly known as EAS codes. So there are many, many elements in the CAP schema, which is an XML format, which is standard computer interchange format that is commonly used now.
2547 So within CAP you can define the kind of message it is and the urgency of it, and broadcasters have suggested that they only want to see an ongoing broadcast interrupted for the most urgent messages, direct‑to‑air.
2548 But you could have other classes of messages, in fact there are other classes of messages. Some broadcasters might say, well, if it's the second level we will put it out at the next commercial break as opposed to automatic over‑the‑air.
2549 Third would be something of less importance, but nevertheless something that should go to the public. That can be done at the next news break.
2550 So CAP within it embedded provides information about the severity of the message.
2551 The other side of this, though, is, do you want to build infrastructure just for the most urgent message, or do you want to build a system or infrastructure that will handle the full spectrum of emergency messages or emergency public information? I would argue the latter.
2552 Experts have said, if you just build a system that's only for the most severe incident, the tornado or the flash flood, you now put it on the wall, it's behind glass and there is a sign there that says, you know, "In the event of the most urgent thing break glass and pull this lever and use this system just for that thing".
2553 As a guy who deals with floods every year, and at all times of the year, that is not very practical for me, and it's not very advisable for my staff. To have two different consoles, two different systems on two different machines in two different rooms for a flood watch vice a flood warning, that defies common sense.
2554 So whatever gets built should be able to handle messages of various types and severities. The issue becomes business rules for which of those messages are allowed to go direct‑to‑air. Certainly the broadcasters are partners in this and I think they should only be obliged to facilitate direct‑to‑broadcast of the most urgent messages, but we shouldn't build a system architecture that only is for those most urgent messages. It will hardly ever be used.
2555 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Thank you. That's very helpful.
2556 Going on, about public education. What advice would you give with respect to a possible public education program to inform the public of the existence of the alerting system, how it will be used and what the public should expect of the alerts?
2557 MR. MacGILLIVRAY: If you will indulge me, a very short story.
2558 Last spring in New Brunswick we had some severe flooding and it came a lot harder than was predicted and it caught people by surprise. We had a whole bunch more rain in fact than our Environment Canada colleagues had predicted and that skewed our models and we were wrong on a forecast.
2559 So during the flood we actually had one woman who called up EMO ‑‑ we have a toll free number ‑‑ and she was in desperate straits and she needed help. There was water coming in her basement, she didn't know what to do. She actually living in a city. We said, "Have you called 9‑1‑1?" And she said, "No."
2560 Anyway, she hung up and a month later at a public meeting she approached me and she was in tears, she was weeping, she was extremely upset. She had been given the runaround, she called the 800 number, no one would help her, they wouldn't tell her what to do. I said, "What did they say?" She said, "Well, call 9‑1‑1." "Well, did you do that?" "Well, no, I didn't know what 9‑1‑1 was."
2561 She was from Newfoundland. Newfoundland doesn't have a province‑wide 9‑1‑1 program. Now, since I was six years old I knew ‑‑ and I grew up in Grandmere, Québec ‑‑ I knew you called 9‑1‑1 and the cops came and they took care of whatever the problem was.
2562 You can't have an emergency program, particularly around known hazards like a nuclear site, without having a public education component. But similarly, if we are going to have a national system for public warning, the public have to know about it. In the absence of public education there will be very many people who won't know about it, so you could have tragic consequences.
2563 So I would argue that you must have public education associated with any initiative like ACA.
2564 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Thank you.
2565 So a national alerting system must integrate its procedures and facilities with those of emergency planning organizations at the various government levels, the three levels of government.
2566 Now, governments and government officials, however, change. That is a fact that may hamper the ability of a national alerting system provider to ensure that coordination occurs in a consistent and substantive manner, and a change in government may also raise different priorities, especially with respect to emergency planning.
2567 What processes or mechanisms would you suggest be in place to ensure the necessary ongoing coordination between the national alerting system and government officials at the three different levels of government?
2568 MR. MacGILLIVRAY: We have very good governance structures that have been built since 2001. I won't belabour them all, but before 2001 much work in public security and emergency management was disconnected, within the federal family and nationally.
2569 There has been a tremendous improvement since the creation of PSEPC and the publication of the national security policy, which is the overarching policy guidance for emergency management work.
2570 What I can tell you is that we have an effective forum of deputy ministers ‑‑ there are two of course, there is a federal one which is chaired by PSEPC, but there is also a federal, provincial, territorial one. Those deputy ministers have on their work place CANALERT and issues relating to public warning.
2571 The senior officials responsible for emergency management is an FPT group, so you have 14 jurisdictions and then you also have federal officials at a DG level from PSEPC and Industry Canada and others as needed. That body essentially is responsible to get the work done. And there is accountability.
2572 So public warning as a national program I think would simply plug into the existing national governance structures that we have at a ministerial level, at a deputy minister's level and at an official level.
2573 As you know, and as you have heard, work is ongoing. So we have a governance structure in place and when a program is developed we would ‑‑ national programs require national governance, so there would be an adjunct to manage that piece.
2574 COMMISSIONER del VAL: Thank you.
2575 Those are my questions, Mr. Chair.
2576 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner del Val.
2577 In your description you described that there were various levels of warnings and you said that there was obviously the imminent, then you said that there were those that could be broadcast at the next commercial break and, finally, the other, the lesser degree that could be discussed in the next newscast.
2578 You said that you had discussions with Pelmorex regarding their plan. Have you every raised with them the issues of the secondary and third layer dissemination of information, because my understanding is that the service that they are proposing is for a very immediate warning.
2579 MR. MacGILLIVRAY: It is, but remember they are part of that last mile. So on the broadcaster end I think to some degree they get to decide. We in fact have an agreement with Pelmorex that says they will publish over The Weather Network and MétéoMédia the most urgent class of messages, but that's it. So it is life safety.
2580 Flash flood would be a typical example in New Brunswick. Tornado warning also, but that would originate with Environment Canada, it wouldn't originate with me. But we would certainly do flood warnings, we would do boil orders where E. coli has been discovered in a municipal water supply, those kinds of things.
2581 My argument is that the architecture of the systems that we create nationally to enable the transmission of these messages shouldn't just be limited to those most urgent messages. But in terms of direct‑to‑broadcast, yes, I would say they should be limited to just the most urgent class.
2582 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
2583 Legal counsel wants to ask you a question.
2584 MR. McCALLUM: What has been the experience, then, with Pelmorex? For example, since the agreement have you actually disseminated some of those warnings and have them go over Pelmorex's system.
2585 MR. MacGILLIVRAY: Thankfully, no, in that we have had an easy spring in New Brunswick. But last year ‑‑ I want to give you an analogy, because one of the complaints about our response in New Brunswick last year was "You were warning us, but when the situation changed you didn't come and knock on the door and tell us how high the water was going to be in the backyard." Well, from a technological perspective I had no way of doing that.
2586 What they have asked us to do, in essence, in public hearings, is "We know you were ringing the alarm bell." We were at a warning level on Tuesday and it flooded on Friday. So we put out warnings on Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and three times on Friday, but it still wasn't enough because those were generalized warnings and they didn't tell people what the impacts were going to be where they were.
2587 People seem to have difficulty interpreting something that says "There is going to be 4.3 metres in Jemseg tomorrow". The don't really know what that means.
2588 So really what they said is, "We know you were ringing the alarm, but when it got worse we wanted you to ring the alarm bell harder."
2589 So the reason I sat down with my partners in this initiative that we have ‑‑ and it's not just Pelmorex, it's also Comlabs, Communication Laboratories, who are the vendor for the U.S.‑based ‑‑ the new U.S.‑based system.
2590 What I said was, I wanted to be able to ring the alarm bell harder, and that's essentially what Pelmorex has offered to do. So when we have the most urgent type of message, this is an added thing that we can do.
2591 What is unique about their technology is, it gives me geographical specificity. I'm not talking about turning on 815 head ends. I'm talking about turning on one head end, the one that just communicates down into the affected area.
2592 If they were able to further develop their system, they would be able to provide us with more geographical specificity than that, perhaps down ‑‑ and depending on what we do with CAP, probably down to census subdivision areas. So we are talking the ability to segment a municipal area and just target those folks.
2593 So I might have wondered off the topic there, counsel, I'm sorry.
2594 MR. McCALLUM: I just wanted to get a sense of what you had to do and what they had to do to implement the agreement.
2595 So what you had to do was sit down and specify the types of alert that you would provide, and what they had to do was to put in specific equipment.
2596 MR. MacGILLIVRAY: You are mostly right.
2597 Just to be clear ‑‑ because I'm just hearing some of the comment, I'm not sure people have quite grasped this concept ‑‑ I don't send anything to Pelmorex. What I do is, I publish an EAS message using a CAP standard. They and Rogers and CBC and anybody else could go to the place where that message is published and they in turn could disseminate it if they chose to do so.
2598 Pelmorex is one corporate entity that has said "We will do that for you". None of the other ones have done that.
2599 But there seems to be a willingness from some of the industry intervenors here to do that sort of thing, so I would say, "Okay, fine. Come talk to me. We can tell you how to do it."
2600 The suggestion that it is non‑trivial to take that CAP message and disseminate it, I think you need to take that with a grain of salt. It costs Pelmorex money to enable the picking up of the message from a publicly accessible place and putting it out over their infrastructure.
2601 Clearly there are costs involved. I didn't incur any of those costs, that is something that they did internally for their own reasons.
2602 MR. McCALLUM: Sorry, in clarifying something unfortunately you confused things for me just to one extent.
2603 You published the message on a website?
2604 MR. MacGILLIVRAY: The message is actually published in the U.S. emergency infrastructure.
2605 MR. McCALLUM: How does Pelmorex know to go to that website to get it and distribute it?
2606 MR. MacGILLIVRAY: We use the application that Comlabs provides. So the application that I use to create the emergency alerting message, the CAP message if you will, that uses a standardized format, that same software Pelmorex has and their rights on that system automatically ‑‑ I'm not sure whether it's a pull or a push, but anyway, they receive notice of that message and they can actually receive the message automatically because somewhere in their rights it says "Anything that gets published by New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization by this authorized user on the system, they have an interest in that."
2607 They now have the message and they disseminate it in accordance with the terms or whatever, in accordance with the content of the message. So if the message says, "This is for Restigouche County", it goes to Restigouche County. But if it says it's for Restigouche County but it's not an urgent message, the it wouldn't go out.
2608 So it is what is commonly known as a managed network. So they are a user on the network, I am a user on the network. I publish alerts within my geographical boundaries of various types. They are paying attention to that and their application automatically serves up to them any messages that I have created that satisfy the conditions.
2609 MR. McCALLUM: So if there is a flood heading for Saint John, New Brunswick and I am the cable operator in Saint John, New Brunswick, could I have access to your message in some way and put it over my system?
2610 MR. MacGILLIVRAY: Indeed you could, but you would have to be a member of this managed network, so you would need a licence that would probably ‑‑ and I'm not a proponent for the vendor ‑‑ it would cost a monthly service fee to be a member of that network, and there is a one‑time set‑up fee.
2611 But once it's set up, yes, when I publish a message and it goes out over The Weather Network, it could also go out over Rogers from their head end at Saint John, if in fact they have a head end in Saint John. I know they have one in Fredericton.
2612 So they would have to enable something on their end. They would incur a cost. We talked about costs. But it is doable.
2613 They don't have to wait for CANALERT to roll out a console or a system or an application. This is off‑the‑shelf and it's in common use, by the way I might add, in 11 States.
2614 MR. McCALLUM: Is your alert published in any publicly available place simultaneously with it being published in the way you have described?
2615 MR. MacGILLIVRAY: The user of the system, the issuer has a choice to enable or not enable a message for public access. So I can enable messages for public access. An Amber Alert would be an example where you would do so.
2616 However, I'm not sure that there is much of a community of practice out there yet in Canada to take advantage of that feature, but once it's known there is no reason why it couldn't be served up by somebody on a website or one of the telcos couldn't elect to disseminate that to subscribers on an SMS service of some kind.
2617 So yes, once it's enabled for public access it's in a standardized format, an XML format, it is relatively easy for third parties to take that message and do with it whatever they want to do with it.
2618 MR. McCALLUM: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
2619 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, counsel.
2620 Thank you, Mr. MacGillivray.
2621 We will break for lunch. We will be back at 1:30 p.m.
‑‑‑ Upon recessing at 1228 / Suspension à 1228
‑‑‑ Upon resuming at 1332 / Reprise à 1332
2622 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order, please. À l'ordre, s'il vous plaît.
2623 Madame la Secrétaire.
2624 LA SECRÉTAIRE : Merci, Monsieur le Président.
2625 Before we continue, I would just like to make an announcement to indicate that the applicants have filed their undertakings with the panel and that is the undertakings from Pelmorex, Bell ExpressVu and CBC/Radio‑Canada.
2626 For the record, Pelmorex has asked that one document be kept confidential. All other documents will be made available on the public file. If anybody wishes to view them, they will be in the public examination room. Thank you.
2627 We will now go on to the next panel of interveners, which is CanWest Media Works Inc., CHUM Limited and CTV Inc.
2628 Gentlemen and ladies, you have 10 minutes for your presentation.
2629 MR. BRACE: Thank you.
2630 MR. BRACE: Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission. My name is Rick Brace and I am the President of CTV.
2631 Before we start our presentation, I would like to take a moment to introduce the members of our panel here today.
2632 On my immediate right is David Goldstein, Vice‑President, Government and Regulatory Affairs for CHUM Limited.
2633 On my immediate left is Robert Hurst, President, CTV News; and to his left is Peter Kent, Deputy Editor, Global TV News.
2634 Behind me are from my left, John Medline, Director of Regulatory Affairs for CanWest Media Works Inc.; Dickie Overdeek, CTV's Director of Regulatory Affairs and Policy Strategy; and Rob Malcolmson of Goodmans, our Legal Counsel.
2635 Our appearance before you today represents a first. Canada's largest private broadcasters have joined together to present a unified front in opposition to the applications by Pelmorex, CBC and ExpressVu, applications that seek access to our signals and to our programming without our consent.
2636 Today we appear before you not as competitors but as broadcasters with the common objective of continuing to perform a public service in times of crisis while protecting the integrity of our signals and maintaining our editorial independence.
2637 At the outset, let us say that we absolutely do support a voluntary system that would provide early warnings of emergency situation to broadcasters and improved emergency preparedness.
2638 We oppose these applications for five reasons.
2639 First, as television broadcasters, we have always provided a vital public service in times of emergency, before, during and after the event. This is our covenant to our viewers and it is one that we take very seriously. A compulsory system that forces broadcasters to cede control of their signals to a third party breaches that covenant and erodes our mandate.
2640 Second, we already work together with the relevant authorities when emergencies arise and we voluntarily participate in public sector alerting initiatives, as we did in the case of the Alberta Emergency Public Warning System and Ambert alert systems.
2641 Third, we do not see the value in a mandatory and in some cases for‑profit system that allows third parties to interrupt broadcaster signals to distribute generalized emergency alerts without the broadcaster's consent. Not only would that compromise our programming, it would also undermine our editorial independence and journalistic integrity, principles that are fundamental to the Canadian broadcasting system.
2642 Fourth, we do not see the value of a mandatory system that forces consumers to pay for a service which they already receive from local broadcasters and specialty news services. Any public alerting system should provide a truly public service to consumers, absolutely free of charge.
2643 Fifth, it is clear that these applications are entirely premature. To date, the process has been driven by technology with no real regard to editorial content or control.
2645 MR. HURST: Thank you, Rick.
2646 These applications are contrary to the fundamentals of editorial independence and journalistic integrity. If approved, authorized users could override a broadcaster's signal without that broadcaster's consent and with no consideration to what is actually on the air, which in cases of emergency will already be live and on the scene.
2647 There is a reason why article 5 of the Radio‑Television News Directors Association Code of Ethics states that:
"Intrusion into content should be resisted."
2648 There is a reason why the Broadcasting Act makes a point of stating that:
"It shall be applied in a manner that is consistent with the freedom of expression and journalistic, creative and programming independence enjoyed by broadcasting undertakings."
2649 And there is a reason why the Act makes broadcasters responsible for their programming.
2650 And there is a reason why section 7 of the Regulations protects a broadcaster's signal from being altered or deleted without broadcaster consent.
2651 The reason underlying all of these statements is the same: to protect broadcasters from interference and to maintain editorial independence.
2652 Alberta's voluntary Emergency Warning System provides a good example of how a well‑intentioned initiative is still in need of improvement.
2653 In 2003, there were 447 authorized users for Alberta's Emergency Warning System alone. Today, this number has grown to over 1,000. Multiply that across Canada and we are looking at thousands of users with the authority to deliver unfiltered messages to viewers.
2654 Last year, the Alberta system issued nine alerts within four days to warn the public about heavy flooding. In some instances, these alerts, which were already outdated by the time they were broadcast, covered up the local 6:00 p.m. newscasts in Calgary which were already reporting the same story live and on location.
2655 Following this incident, Alberta revised the criteria for issuing alerts. The new criteria require that flood alerts be issued only where a situation is life‑threatening, imminent and where they are not interrupting radio and television information of equal or greater value.
2656 In other words, the Alberta system recognizes the vital role that broadcasters play in emergency reporting. The applications before you do not.
2657 MR. KENT: Editorial independence and journalistic integrity aren't just lofty statements of principle. News reporters and editors are acutely aware of the importance of information that is both timely and accurate.
2658 If blanket alert information is out of date, it can be confusing, even dangerous, especially if it overrides actual live on‑the‑site coverage of the event. Such situations actively compromise the ability of journalists to do their jobs and work against, not for, public safety.
2659 In times of crisis, people need the reassurance of a human presence, a human dimension, not just an impersonal alphanumeric screen.
2660 When torrential thunderstorms and flooding hit Toronto last August, municipal officials were slow to respond. Nonetheless, Global's meteorologist provided updated advisories into programming live from our Don Mills studios while camera crews and reporters provided live coverage from severely flooded areas in the lower valley along the Don River.
2661 That coverage contributed to emergency services awareness of the developing situation and assisted in the rescue of homeless people stranded by rising water.
2662 That same month, Environment Canada issued a rare tornado warning for Toronto. Because the storm was fast‑moving, it would have been impossible to use relayed text crawls. They would have been dated by the time they hit the air. We went live.
2663 In August 2003 when forest fires consumed part of Kelowna, B.C., Global's CHBC provided round‑the‑clock marathon coverage, delivering emergency services messages, both specific and general, from Fire Department Headquarters and live reports from various locations around the valley.
2664 Our station was widely recognized for the immediacy and accuracy of evacuation alerts during the worst of the firestorms and for providing updates to evacuees on the state of their property and in some cases their pets and for relaying all‑clear and return information when the danger passed.
2666 MR. GOLDSTEIN: Thank you, Peter.
2667 These are just a few examples of the types of local coverage that are at risk of being overridden by a blanket automated All Channel Alert system.
2668 There are also many serious questions that remain unanswered by these applications.
2669 1. What is the status of CANALERT and how will it roll out?
2670 2. What happens if the information inserted into the broadcast signal is wrong, omits critical information, sets off panic, or, in the worst possible situation, ends up causing lives to be lost instead of lives saved? Who is responsible?
2671 3. Are the service providers or the government prepared to indemnify broadcasters from liability that may be caused by the alert messages?
2672 4. Who exactly would be the authorized agencies and the persons within those agencies? How will emergency messages be prioritized when there are competing demands on the system and, in essence, who gets to pull the trigger?
2673 The applicants haven't addressed these issues and these fundamental questions. We are concerned that to date this process has been driven by technology with no regard to editorial control, discretion or judgment.
2675 MR. BRACE: To conclude, CTV, CanWest and CHUM strongly oppose the Commission sanctioning a mandatory for‑profit framework that allows any third party to insert an emergency message into a broadcaster's signal without the broadcaster's consent.
2676 We believe the best solution is to build on the existing systems local broadcasters have in place to alert and advise their viewers.
2677 You have our commitment to take a leadership role in the development and the implementation of a voluntary system that allows broadcasters to maintain their editorial independence and journalistic integrity.
2678 You also have our commitment to continue to make our news coverage of emergencies available across our specialty networks and radio properties where circumstances warrant, as we did in September of 2001.
2679 We take our responsibility to public safety seriously and we will continue to make ongoing improvements.
2680 We do not believe that Canadians should have to pay for services that are already provided by local broadcasters and specialty news services nor should broadcasters be expected to pay for the implementation of a mandatory third‑party for‑profit system over which they have absolutely no control.
2681 Each of CTV, CanWest and CHUM are committed to improving emergency awareness and to developing and implementing an effective public alerting system but we need to be an integral part of the solution, not having it dictated to us through a mandatory system that leaves no room for editorial discretion and that is being developed through a process that has not been sufficiently consultative.
2682 For these reasons, we would ask that the applications before you be denied.
2683 We appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today and are happy to answer any questions that you may have.
2684 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Brace. Thank you, gentlemen. I will have Commissioner Pennefather start with the questions.
2685 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
2686 Good afternoon. Thank you for your intervention and I have also your written comments here. I wanted to pursue basically two lines of questioning, if you will, but we might wander into other areas.
2687 Clearly, one is that you have said, and I believe you say it a little less but I am sure you still maintain your position, united as it is, that you are committed to participate in an emergency alert service developed by the Government of Canada in consultation with broadcasters and BDUs, et cetera. I assume that is still your position?
2688 MR. BRACE: Absolutely.
2689 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: So when we look at this, as you said, Mr. Goldstein, the blanket automated All Channel Alert system, that is the same thing that we are talking about, an emergency alert system Canada‑wide? So without putting the adjectives, that is what we are talking about?
2690 MR. GOLDSTEIN: That is correct.
2691 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Let us look at that then and assume that such a system is important and we will discuss a couple of points. Then we will discuss your role and what you do currently and how you see that evolving either on its own or in coordination with such a national alert system.
2692 So those are the two lines, equal in importance, and we will try to see if we can flesh a few things out.
2693 One of the most important issues for you, and which is developed at great length, and we have a panel that can probably give us some very good comments on editorial, journalistic Code of Ethics and concerns.
2694 I think we are very clear on what your concerns are. I think they are related not so much to the mandatory but to the change to the Regulations which would allow the insertion of a message without agreement; is that correct?
2695 MR. BRACE: I would say that the mandatory issuance is an issue for us as well.
2696 But really, I think you are absolutely correct, it is really the ability for someone to insert information over our signal, and information that: number one, we haven't consented to; number two, that we really haven't had an opportunity to either review or perhaps adjust in some manner or form that might be more up to date and react to in any way, that just kind of gets passed through and goes onto the air without any kind of supervision from our editorial areas. That is really the concern.
2697 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Let us assume that because you are interested in participating in a national alert system that one of the advantages or one of the, let us say, underlying necessities of such a system is the timeliness and the speed with which that alert ‑‑ and let us be clear, for purposes of discussion, a warning of imminent threat to life ‑‑ and that that would aid in a considerable manner what you also would be doing.
2698 If you consider that ‑‑ I am assuming you do ‑‑ as fundamental to a national alert system, do you have any sense that the fact that such a national alert system would be developed based on guidelines and protocols similar, for the sake of discussion, to the guidelines and protocols developed to date by CANALERT that such guidelines and protocols would not define the alert in such a specific manner that your concerns would be allayed to some extent?
2699 MR. BRACE: I think ‑‑ on the contrary, I think that we would like to take a proactive role, which we haven't had the opportunity to do to this point in time, the consultation process in developing the protocol.
2700 I am still referring to a voluntary system, however. Let me be clear on that.
2701 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Okay.
2702 MR. BRACE: But having said that, what we would be interested in doing is taking an active role in working with CANALERT or any other agencies that may be involved and we have heard many different variations over the last day and a half as to where these alerts may come from and the number of users and so on and so forth.
2703 But I think that what we want to do is play a role in that, a responsible role that we believe we can bring to the table with the expertise as broadcasters that can help develop the protocol, the way messages would be delivered, the format they would be delivered and the actual content that they would be delivered. I think that that is where we would like to start.
2704 Then I think the next step is how they get delivered to us and what happens from that point going forward.
2705 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: We could stay on that latter piece of the puzzle then. Let us assume that the consultation process starts right now.
2706 Let me put to you that if we are being very specific on the Regulation point 7(d) and in the best interests of a national alert system being in place, would you not be prepared perhaps to look at the possibility that your agreement to alter the programming in these very specifically designed circumstances, protocols, guidelines discussed to your satisfaction ‑‑ would there not be a way to:
2707 (a) accept a wording, if you have one to suggest, for 7(d) which you would be comfortable with ‑‑ considering that you will be part of discussions, you must have considered such a possibility; and
2708 (b) other than changing the wording, is there a way to sit down and formulate a pre‑agreement, if you will, that in certain circumstances such an alteration would be correct, thereby limiting and specifying and giving us very specific language that would allow for the insertion of a message so carefully defined through protocols and guidelines?
2709 Would that help?
2710 MR. BRACE: Potentially it could but without the framework established out of the gate ‑‑ and it goes to the prematurity issue that we have with the applicants and with the discussion that we have heard over the last two days ‑‑ it would be difficult for us to kind of notionally agree to that. I think that we need to understand much more of the specifics.
2711 The timeliness was a good point, an excellent point, Commissioner Pennefather, and I am going to have Robert and Peter maybe talk to this a little bit.
2712 The system that for us would be ideal would be a voluntary system whereby after a protocol had been developed, a set of guidelines had been issued and we all had agreed to them that the information could be delivered to the broadcaster and the broadcaster could then deal with it. And there is a lot of complexity in that. I understand that.
2713 But in terms of timeliness, at this point I would like to turn to Robert to talk about what is the difference in timing that it would take to get a message to the consumer and to the necessary audience by doing it this way as opposed to the ways that have been proposed over the last day or so.
2714 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Could I just ‑‑ excuse me for interrupting, Mr. Hurst, but certainly that is a very important line of our questioning and that basically is to satisfy the record that we understand what you do currently and how you are developing across the united front of the broadcasters in this area.
2715 But just to remain on the question of the insertion on programming for the moment. We have talked about the possibility of a discussion on either an amendment to the Regulations which would suit your concerns ‑‑ and you may want to get back to us on that ‑‑ and (b) perhaps other pre‑agreements.
2716 That is just my term. It is not any term we have thought through legally but it is just an idea to say that your agreement is already given ahead of time.
2717 MR. BRACE: I like the latter comment better, the pre‑agreement. I mean if there was a pre‑agreement that we could come to after due diligence and having the consultative process take place that we could all say, all right, that in certain situations this may be what we are in agreement to do, that to us is a pretty good definition of consent and if that were the process it seems to me that altering article 7 would not be necessary.
2718 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: That being said, let me delve then with perhaps Mr. Hurst and Mr. Kent a little more on the concerns for altering the programming in this particular case.
2719 It appeared to me ‑‑ and I can take the general principle and we can all understand that and it is in the Act. But in this particular case, we have a balancing act perhaps of the national interest and when we are being very serious about not misuse but correct use of such a system.
2720 I had the impression reading your intervention that you were concerned that these messages were coming from government, that that was part of your concern for editorial control, editorial codes of ethics and so on.
2721 Can you elaborate a little bit on assuming agreements were made, assuming everything went ‑‑ bottom line, the insertion of such an alert would more than likely come from certain government bodies judging from the discussions we have been having, be they provincial, local or federal?
2722 MR. HURST: Commissioner, you used a phrase which we think is very important, "correct use."
2723 Yesterday, we heard which was a lot of engineering and technical can you do, can you not do.
2724 I think from a news perspective ‑‑ and we have been the ones running this last mile. I think the industry talks about the last mile of delivering emergency messages. We have been the ones running that last mile for the last 30‑40 years, and in that last mile there are a whole bunch of checks and balances, the primary one being accuracy.
2725 In the last year or so, with several alerts, we have had difficulties with accuracy from emergency authorities that have been issuing alerts that we caught, that we filtered. So in terms of what might conditions be, accuracy and the ability to control and check and check for accuracy is fundamental.
2726 The larger principle being, and this comes back to your phrase "correct use," and it really is what are the guardian facts about protecting public confidence in the system.
2727 We have had four Amber alerts in the Toronto area, in southern Ontario in the last two or three weeks. Last June in Alberta we had 16 or 17 flood warnings. Those flood warnings, one of which included a sewage backup in a street in Lethbridge which went over the public airwaves, I would argue and I think our news people would argue that that kind of warning denigrates public confidence in the system.
2728 We think we would like to really engage as those who have been running the last mile, engage the public alerting officials about our experience about public panic, accuracy, follow‑up. If you do a warning, then what do you do?
2729 So there are conditions but it comes down to accuracy and overall I would say reinforcing and protecting public confidence in an emergency alerting system.
2731 MR. KENT: Commissioner, if I could just jump in.
2732 In speaking to what we consider to be the premature nature of this licensing procedure in the absence of a consultative process either with Industry Canada, with CANALERT or with the applicants before you this week, there has been a lot of talk in the past couple of days, vague references to who pulls the trigger.
2733 It is not so much our concern that it is a legitimate government agency, a commissioner of public safety, a police chief or a fire chief but as we have seen in Alberta with their gradually evolving Emergency Warning System, there are now close to 1,000 individuals authorized to launch an alert, to pull the trigger, and at the same time realizing that this trigger could be pulled with content which, in our experience in Alberta particularly, has proven to be out of date and misleading.
2734 We have got to realize and we have to remind ourselves that there is no single silver bullet coming out of the guns of any of your applicants here this week. This is a multidimensional solution.
2735 We have heard talk of sirens, we have heard talk of cellular and digital text alerts and I think we can't possibly discount the importance of radio in all of this. I think radio is going to have to be a leading partner in any mandatory CANALERT system if that is what we are to eventually inherit.
2736 MR. BRACE: I think just in ‑‑
2737 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Well, I ‑‑ I am sorry, go ahead.