TORONTO: The Ontario government is investing $208 million over three years to enhance the province’s 9-1-1 emergency response system.
The funding will enable significant technology and infrastructure upgrades to support the transition to a new 9-1-1 communications system know as Next Generation 9-1-1. Once fully implemented, the new system will make it easier to provide additional details about emergency situations such as video from the scene of an accident and to text 9-1-1 when requesting immediate help from police, fire or ambulance services. It will also give emergency operators and dispatchers the ability to identify the location of a call using GPS coordinates, resulting in a safer, faster and more informed emergency response.
“Emergency operators, dispatchers and communicators are heroes of public safety, and putting modern 9-1-1 technology at their fingertips will support efforts for faster deployment of first responders and better protect the people of Ontario,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “Our significant investment will enable the transition to a state-of-the-art emergency communications system that safeguards people, families and communities.”
Municipalities operate a large portion of the 9-1-1 call centres and have long called for provincial supports to help with a smooth transition to Next Generation 9-1-1, which has been mandated by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission to take place by March 4, 2025.
Ontario is taking a leadership role in the transition, and will work hand in hand with municipalities, First Nations, and the emergency communications sector. The province’s new funding will support these partners to purchase required equipment, modernize infrastructure and technology and enhance training at call centres.
The government will continue to work with its partners to ensure a successful transition that meets local needs and will provide dedicated supports to First Nations.
• There are 108 public safety answering points across the province of Ontario that receive and process emergency calls.
• The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has directed all phone and cell service companies to update their networks from analog to digital, so they are ready to provide Next Generation 9-1-1 voice and text messaging.
• The public will still be able to access 9-1-1 and other emergency communications throughout the transition to Next Generation 9-1-1.