Alert Ready admits not everyone received emergency system test in Ontario

By Patricia D'Cunha and The Canadian Press

A test of Canada’s national emergency alert system did not go as planned across Ontario on Wednesday.

Ontarians were supposed to receive a test alert on their cellphones, as well as through TV and radio broadcasts, at 12:55 p.m. ET. However, some say they didn’t get one.

Alert Ready says while the test was issued and distributed to television, radio and compatible wireless devices, it acknowledged that not everyone received it.

“We are aware that some Ontarians are indicating they did not receive the test alert on their wireless device,” the organization said in a post on X. “Our wireless partners are working to identify the issue.”

The Federal Emergency Preparedness Minister’s office said they were aware of the issues some residents faced during the alert conducted by Ontario, adding that the “problem appears to be limited to cellular telephone service.”

The Alert Ready system provides critical updates to the public on tornadoes, flooding, fires, and Amber Alerts. In Ontario, the provincial government also classifies these events as emergencies.

The testing sound, beginning with the alert tone, simulates an emergency alert. The message indicates that it is a test and does not require action.

These tests are usually conducted twice a year, in May and in November. The test times vary for the rest of Canada.

Much of Canada had its alert system tested on May 8. Provincial and territorial emergency management organizations already conduct regular tests of the system, but this was the first time the federal government tested its capacity to issue alerts.

It held tests in eight provinces and territories, while provincial and territorial authorities conducted tests in another four.

The government said it recently signed an agreement to issue alerts on information of national interest that falls within federal jurisdiction.

Canadians do not have the option to opt out of the test or actual alerts.

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