Wireless Public Alerting explained

Wireless Public Alerting (WPA) description and device compatibility list

What is Wireless Public Alerting/Alert Ready?

is a service designed to deliver critical and potentially life-saving emergency alert messages to Canadians over radio, TV and now wireless smartphones.

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 including TELUS to ensure you receive emergency alerts immediately and know when to take action to keep you and your family safe.

TELUS and all Canadian wireless service providers are required to broadcast emergency alerts received from alerting authorities directly to consumers’
WPA compatible wireless devices
using Cell Broadcast distribution.

Wireless service providers will only receive and broadcast alerts 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, including devices that are roaming, will receive the emergency alerts within seconds of alert issuance, provided the devices are powered on and connected to the LTE cellular network. If you are travelling outside of Canada to a country that has a functional wireless alerting service, you may receive alerts issued to the geographic location you are in.

: As mandated by the CRTC, you cannot opt out of receiving threat-to-life emergency alerts.

What do Wireless Public Alerts look like?

While the alerts may look like text messages, they are not text messages and are not billed like text messages nor do they count towards data usage.

Emergency alerts begin with a distinct sound, known as the
Canadian Alert Attention Signal
and may also cause the device to vibrate.

On compatible wireless devices, the emergency alert will display an
banner with information describing the situation, instructions on what actions to take and where to learn more. At the top of each emergency alert, the issuing government agency will be clearly indicated.

As a general rule, emergency alerts will only be issued once. In the event that the issuing government has an update to the original alert, you will receive updated alert messages.

: You will occasionally receive a test alert that allows the government to ensure the system is working as expected. The test alert text will clearly indicate that it is a test alert.

If you are a person with a sight or hearing disability, alternate formats of the emergency alert can be issued. Emergency alerts may be read to the recipient if their device supports this accessibility feature and the vibration feature that accompanies emergency alerts sent to wireless devices will help make hearing impaired aware of alerts. Visit the
accessibility features and mobile devices support page
for more information on accessibility features or contact your device manufacturer.

Wireless Public Alerting compatible devices

Not all wireless mobile devices offer wireless public alerting compatibility.

As of November 2019, approximately 75% of the LTE devices connected to the TELUS networks are capable of receiving wireless emergency alerts. For a device to receive WPA alerts the following conditions need to be met:

  • Compatible LTE device

  • Latest OS software version for the compatible LTE device

  • The compatible LTE device must be connected to the LTE network at the time of the alert

Compatible LTE devices

The following devices have been tested and certified by TELUS for emergency alerting compatibility.

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