CRTC launches Text with 9-1-1 for people with hearing or speech disabilities

Americas, March 19 2014

CANADA: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is announcing that as of today the 9-1-1 call centre that serves the Metro Vancouver and select surrounding areas of British Columbia will be able to communicate with Canadians with hearing or speech disabilities using text messages.

Text with 9-1-1 servicesPeople with hearing or speech disabilities in these areas must register with their wireless service provider to access this service. E-Comm 9-1-1, the emergency call centre that serves Metro Vancouver and select surrounding areas is the first emergency call centre in Canada to provide Text with 9-1-1. The CRTC also announces that the City of Calgary is expected to make the Text with 9-1-1 service available to people with hearing or speech disabilities  as of March 24, 2014 in its region.

It is important to note that the Text with 9-1-1 service will become available in other parts of the country as regional emergency call centres implement this new feature. For more information and to register, Canadians are encouraged to visit www.textwith911.ca where they can find direct links for the service with their wireless service provider.

As directed by the CRTC in January 2013, wireless carriers and telephone companies were required to make changes to their networks in order to support the provision of Text with 9-1-1 service by January 24, 2014. These companies are ready to support this service across the country where 9-1-1 service is available.

Text with 9-1-1 service is now available to people with hearing or speech disabilities in Metro Vancouver and select surrounding area. This service enables call centre operators to communicate with registered users using text messages.

In the event of an emergency, registered users must first dial 9-1-1 from their cell phone. The emergency call centre will automatically receive a notification to initiate a conversation by text message.

Voice calling remains the only way to access 9-1-1 services for people who are not hearing or speech impaired.

Text with 9-1-1 is not available to the general public at this time. Text messages sent to “911” do not reach emergency services.

Emergency call centres are operated by municipal, provincial and territorial governments.

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