A test of Canada’s emergency broadcast system is set to take place today. Provincial and territorial emergency management systems will be sending out test signals to phones in every part of the country except Nunavut.
The emergency alerts have become a familiar sound since the national public alert system was first tested in early 2018, revealing glitches in several provinces. Since January, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission says 125 emergency messages have been issued, warning Canadians of potentially life-threatening situations.
The CRTC said the emergency alerts have been credited with saving lives.
Some alert recipients, however, have considered them an annoyance, sparking complaints on social media — and even to 911 operators — that the emergency warnings came too late at night or were targeting the wrong geographic area.
The complaints have prompted often heated debates about their necessity in helping to find missing children or to warn of emergencies.
Pelmorex Corp., which operates the system’s technical infrastructure, says the tests are necessary to ensure the system is working properly and to educate Canadians on what the warning signals look and sound like.
The test is set for Ontario around 2:55 pm this afternoon.