Wireless Public Alerting (WPA)



Alert Ready is a service designed to deliver critical and potentially life-saving emergency alert messages to Canadians.

The Alert Ready system was developed in partnership with federal, provincial, and territorial emergency management officials, Pelmorex Corp., the broadcast industry, and wireless service providers to ensure you receive emergency alerts immediately and know when to take action to keep you and your family safe.

Beginning in April 2018, all wireless service providers will have the capability to distribute emergency alerts received from alerting authorities directly to consumers' WPA-compatible wireless devices using Cell Broadcast distribution.

Wireless service providers will only receive and relay messages that are issued for threat-to-life situations.

Emergency alerts intended for wireless devices are issued to a defined geographic area, which can be as small as a few city blocks, so that only people in the defined area receive the emergency alerts. The defined area is selected by the alerting authorities. Compatible wireless devices in the targeted area will receive the emergency alerts within seconds of alert issuance, provided the phones are powered on and connected to the LTE cellular network.

You cannot opt out of receiving threat-to-life emergency alerts.

Emergency alerts begin with a distinct sound, known as the Canadian Alert Attention Signal. Emergency alerts sent to compatible wireless devices may also cause the phone to vibrate.

On compatible wireless devices, the emergency alert will display an "EMERGENCY ALERT/ALERTE D'URGENCE" banner, followed by text that describes the situation and provides instructions on what actions to take and where to find more information. At the top of each emergency alert, the issuing government agency will be clearly indicated.

If you are a person with a sight, or hearing disability: Alternate formats can be issued, but not every alerting authority or every device will have the capacity to produce alternate formats. For emergency alerts distributed via compatible wireless devices, emergency alerts may be read to the recipient if their device supports this accessibility feature. The vibration feature that accompanies emergency alerts sent to compatible wireless devices will help to make hearing impaired people aware of the alerts.



WPA-Compatible Phones

The following phones are WPA-compatible and able to receive Alert Ready emergency alerts:

  • Apple iPhone X
  • Apple iPhone 8
  • Apple iPhone 8 Plus
  • Apple iPhone 7
  • Apple iPhone 7 Plus
  • Apple iPhone 6S 
  • Apple iPhone 6S Plus
  • Apple iPhone SE
  • Apple iPhone 6
  • Apple iPhone 5S
  • Google Pixel 2
  • Google Pixel 2 XL
  • LG G6
  • LG G7
  • LG Q6
  • LG V30
  • Motorola Moto E4
  • Motorola Moto E5 Play
  • Motorola Moto G Play
  • Motorola Moto G6 Play
  • Motorola Moto G4 Plus
  • Samsung Galaxy S9+
  • Samsung Galaxy S9
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+
  • Samsung Galaxy S8
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8
  • Samsung Galaxy Note5
  • Samsung Galaxy J3
  • Samsung Galaxy A5
  • Samsung Galaxy A8
  • Samsung Galaxy Xcover 4
  • Sony Xperia XZ1
  • Sony Xperia XZ2
  • Sony Xperia XA1
  • Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra
  • Sony Xperia XA2
  • Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra

The latest software is required for the Wireless Public Alerting feature to work properly. We continue to work on certifying more phones as WPA-compatible. Please watch this list for updates.

Frequently Asked Questions

1

Who sends emergency alerts?

 
 

Federal, provincial, and territorial governments are responsible for issuing emergency alerts.


Federally, emergency alerts are issued most frequently by Environment and Climate Change Canada.


Each provincial or territorial government decides who will have the authority to issue alerts within their jurisdictions. For example, emergency alerts could be issued by provincial or territorial emergency management offices or in some cases by municipal emergency management offices or local police and fire departments.


Media companies, including television, radio stations, cable and satellite distributors, as well as websites receive these emergency alerts and relay them to their consumers.


Beginning April 6 2018, wireless service providers will be capable of distributing emergency alerts received from alerting authorities directly to their consumers' compatible wireless devices connected to LTE networks using Cell Broadcast distribution.

2

What types of emergency alerts are issued via Alert Ready?

 
 

The Alert Ready system allows alerting authorities from federal, provincial and territorial governments to issue a wide range of public safety messages. However, broadcasters and wireless service providers are only required to distribute emergency alerts for situations that pose an immediate threat-to-life.


Government officials developed and agreed on a specific list of the types of alerts that are considered a threat-to-life and should be distributed immediately, interrupting radio and television broadcasts. These "Broadcast Immediately" emergency alerts have the highest level of severity, urgency and certainty. For a full list, visit the Alert Types section of the website.


Issuing alerts outside of this list (for example heavy rainfall or blizzard warnings) is at the discretion of each of the broadcasters. Wireless service providers will only receive and relay messages that are issued for threat-to-life situations.

3

Will emergency alerts be for my specific area?

 
 

Yes. The alerting authority determines what areas are affected by an incident, weather or environmental situation, and uses a standard system that will typically correspond with municipal, regional or provincial boundaries. The standardized system will allow participating radio, television, cable and satellite companies to broadcast the emergency alerts that are most relevant to the communities they serve.


Emergency alerts intended for wireless devices are issued to a defined geographic area, which can be as small as a few city blocks, so that only people in the defined area receive the emergency alerts. Compatible wireless devices in the targeted area will receive the emergency alerts within seconds of being issued, provided the phones are powered on and connected to the LTE cellular network.

4

What does it mean to have a wireless device that is WPA-compatible?

 
 

A wireless device that is WPA-compatible is (1) an LTE-device, and (2) has special software embedded in it which allows for messages sent by your service provider, via Cell Broadcast, to be received in the standard Alert Ready format.


Emergency alerts that meet the Alert Ready format allow you to know when an alert is received (because of the sound and vibration), and also provides confirmation that it is issued by a legitimate sources.


Visit the wireless section of AlertReady.ca to find a link to the section of your wireless service provider’s website that provides information on compatible devices. Or check out the list of phones right on this page!