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Published: Wed, May 09, 2018
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Canada's Emergency Alert System Fails First Quebec Test

Canada's Emergency Alert System Fails First Quebec Test

"That's why we do testing, to make sure that the connection is OK", he said.

"I guess if the world ends, I'm the last to know", he quipped.

The tests get underway today in Quebec and Ontario, and in the remaining provinces and territories on Wednesday. "There is no danger to your health or safety".

The Alert Ready system, created to deliver potentially life-saving alerts to Canadians through wireless devices, TV and radio, failed its first mobile test in Quebec and had spotty success in Ontario.

With files from the Canadian Press. Alerts were successful on TV and radio on Monday.

While similar alerts have already proven successful using TV and radio platforms, this is the first time cellphones have been incorporated in the alert simulations.

Pelmorex did not respond to questions by deadline about what went wrong in Ontario. "In this one, the misconfiguration was quickly corrected", she said. "These tests are conducted to ensure that the alerting system is functional", the CRTC stated.

Depending on device settings, those with compatible phones connected to an LTE network can expect to hear a tone similar to an ambulance siren or feel a vibration for about eight seconds. The messages can't be tracked by service providers so they can't tell who has or has not received the alert, the CRTC said.

The emergency alert messages will be issued by federal, provincial and territorial governments, along with emergency management officials, to warn of imminent threats, such as fires, tornadoes, floods, water contamination and Amber Alerts.

"But in Canada everything is in order with the precaution" to prevent the proliferation of false signals to mobile devices, said the press-Secretary of the CRTC Patricia Valladao.

Unlike wireless emergency alerts issued in the United States, Canada's system requires a specific vibration cadence, alert tone and banner to notify users of an emergency.

Unlike SMS text messages, the Alert Ready messages are one-way, operate on a separate channel and are not billed to subscribers. Devices turned off during the test period will not receive an alert.

In Quebec, it was found the test failed due to an extra space put in the code that triggers the alert.

Yukon 1:30 p.m.

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