Frequently Asked Questions
Alert Ready is a pan-Canadian initiative of provincial and territorial emergency management organizations, federal departments, and certain broadcasting and telecommunications companies. Québec Alert Ready is Québec's counterpart to it.
The system will be known as Québec Alert Ready throughout the province.
The system enables the ministère de la Sécurité publique (MSP) to limit alerts to the targeted area and the surrounding region, so only those impacted by an event will receive warning messages. Some service providers may be obliged by technical constraints to broadcast alerts outside the zone. In anyways, the impacted area will be clearly indicated in the alert message.
In Québec, only the MSP and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) can broadcast intrusive alert messages to the public through Québec Alert Ready. ECCC handles weather-related alerts, such as tornado warnings, while the MSP broadcasts other types of alerts. The MSP broadcasts these alerts from the Government Operations Centre at the request of the Sûreté du Québec or local stakeholders.
Yes, obligations to this effect are established by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
Yes, alert messages are intrusive and will interrupt ongoing television and radio broadcasts in the affected area while they are being broadcast.
Yes. Québec Alert Ready is an additional tool available to the gouvernement du Québec to support municipalities in their process of alerting citizens in case of emergency situations.
Should such an event occur, people may receive other warnings than the one emitted by Québec Alert Ready—for example, a phone message from their municipality or an alarm issued by a private company.
Once the initial alert has been broadcast by the MSP, updates to the alert can be made.
The MSP's Government Operations Centre monitors civil security operations, transmits alerts to the public through Québec Alert Ready, and is informed of public alerts issued in Canada through the Alert Ready system.
An end-of-alert (“all clear”) message is not systematically broadcast. The purpose of Québec Alert Ready is mainly to launch a first alert. Subsequently, local authorities, traditional media, and social media normally relay a great deal of information on the event as it unfolds.
Government officials can cancel or update an alert at any time if the situation has changed or is considered over. Broadcasting and telecommunications companies are not obliged to broadcast the "all clear" message. Government and local officials must ensure that this information is properly communicated to citizens through traditional means.
The system is secure and has been tested several times to prove it works effectively. Each message broadcast through the Québec Alert Ready system will have its own unique digital certificate to guarantee its authenticity. You can also check that the message is genuine on the MSP website, at alerte.gouv.qc.ca.
All alert messages broadcast by Québec Alert Ready are listed and archived on the MSP website.
The MSP always includes an audio version of the warning message. If a broadcaster is unable to use the file due to a technical problem, it can use text-to-speech software to obtain an audio version of the message.
Yes, in Québec, alerts are broadcast in French and English in the same message.
Alerts are broadcast on television and radio and on compatible mobile phones connected to an LTE network.
Other mobile devices, such as tablets and smart watches, may also receive this type of message in another form, but not necessarily in the Alert Ready format.
On the Québec Alert Ready website at alerte.gouv.qc.ca.
Your municipality is the main source of information when an emergency situation arises in your area. As soon as you receive an MSP alert, we recommend that you follow the instructions issued by your local authorities.
Radio and television stations will also cover events entailing a potential loss of life or property damage and may provide other useful information as necessary.
The Alert Ready system is run by Pelmorex Communications Inc., the parent company of The Weather Network and MétéoMédia.
When its licence for the two channels was renewed, Pelmorex made a commitment to the CRTC to set up this system in order to help keep Canadians safer.
If you subscribe to certain services, your broadcaster will automatically switch the channel on your TV or decoder to a station that’s reserved for emergency alerts.
To return to your program, you’ll need to change channels manually. Contact your service provider’s customer service department for more information, if necessary.
No. In order for a mobile device to receive emergency alerts, it must meet three conditions.
It must be
1 - An LTE-type device, such as a smartphone.
2 - Compatible with the Wireless Public Alerting Service (WPAS).
3 - Connected to an LTE cellular network at the time the emergency alert is broadcast.
Visit alertready.ca to find out which compatible mobile devices are available from your wireless service provider.
A WPAS-enabled mobile device is an LTE-type device with special software that allows messages sent to it by your service provider using cell broadcast (CB) technology to be received in the standard Alert Ready format.
The Alert Ready format allows you to be notified when an emergency alert is received, as it uses an audible signal and vibration to announce the alert and provides confirmation that the alert is from a legitimate source.
Visit alertready.cato learn more about compatible mobile devices available from your wireless service provider.
No. While an emergency alert may look like a text message, it is not.
Emergency alerts are transmitted using CB, a mobile technology that allows messages to be broadcast to all compatible mobile devices within a specified geographic area. This technology enables simultaneous transmission of the same message to multiple users in a given area, regardless of network congestion, because it uses a dedicated part of the network, separate from the usual voice and data traffic.
Cellular broadcasting can be compared to radio broadcasting. In the case of radio broadcasting, radio relay towers broadcast music to the population in defined geographical areas, where everyone who is in a place where they can pick up the broadcast signal and has turned on their radio can hear the music. This is much the same thing that happens in cellular broadcasting: alert messages are transmitted to compatible mobile devices within the range of the towers and cellular antennas in the designated area. You do not need to have the geolocation feature on your mobile device activated in order to receive alerts.
No. Receiving an emergency alert will not terminate an ongoing phone call or data session.
If you are on the phone when an emergency alert is received, you will hear a beep. When you finish your call, the alert will appear on your mobile device screen.
If you have a data transmission session in progress, it will continue, but may be suspended briefly by the display of the emergency alert on the screen of your mobile device.
Emergency alerts are not displayed when your device is switched off. If an emergency alert is still being broadcast when you turn on your device, it will be displayed as long as you are still in the area to which it pertains.
When your compatible mobile device is in silent mode, broadcast emergency alerts are displayed, but you may not hear the beep that announces them. The loudness of the beep corresponds to the volume setting of the mobile device.
If an emergency alert is still being broadcast when you turn on your device, it will be displayed as long as you are still in the zone to which it pertains. If the broadcast has ended or if you are no longer in the zone in question, it will not be displayed.
If a compatible mobile device remains able to communicate with the LTE cellular network while connected to a Wi-Fi network, it will receive emergency alerts that are broadcast. If the device is not within the area served by the LTE cellular network, or if it is set to operate in Wi-Fi only mode, it will not receive alerts.
Alert system test messages are identified as such. As the name implies, they are used to verify that the system is working properly. They are also intended to raise awareness concerning emergency alerts. You as a citizen do not have to do anything to ensure your safety if you receive a test message.
Upon receiving an emergency alert, it is important to take action. Stop what you are doing as soon as you can and read the alert. Alert managers include in each alert information on safe behaviour to protect yourself, such as avoiding unnecessary travel, leaving the area, or sheltering in place.
No. Wireless alerts are transmitted on a dedicated cellular channel that is separate from normal text and data traffic. Although they look like text messages, they are not text messages and are not billed as such.
No. Emergency alerts that you receive on a compatible mobile device concern you, and you should pay attention to them immediately. According to government regulations, all compatible mobile devices must receive all relevant alerts.
You may receive them. Emergency alerts are broadcast for specific geographic areas, so only people in the area to which an alert pertains will receive it. Therefore, if you are travelling and are in a province that is the subject of an emergency alert at the time the alert is broadcast, you will receive the alert within seconds of the broadcast, provided you have a compatible mobile device that is turned on and connected to the LTE cellular network. You do not need to activate the geolocation feature on your device to receive alerts.
No. If you are travelling, you will only receive emergency alerts broadcast for the place you are in.
No. Emergency alerts are transmitted using CB technology, and this technology only allows information to be transmitted to your mobile device. In other words, it does not collect information about you, your device, or your location at the time an emergency alert is broadcast.
Last updated: November 20, 2020