TORONTO — A city council vote this week could set Toronto on the path to becoming the first jurisdiction in Canada where all residents can send text messages to 911 operators instead of calling them.
Coun. Norm Kelly is calling on the city to request that the Toronto Police Services Board consider adopting emergency texting.
Many parts of Canada, including Toronto and 500 other Ontario communities, offer 911 texting for people with hearing or speech impairments.
Text service for people with special needs also exists in Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, most of Quebec, and parts of Alberta and British Columbia.
But emergency texting for people without hearing or speech impairment is not available anywhere in Canada.
In January, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission started a consultation process to create a regulatory framework for what it calls “next generation 911.” The CRTC said this program could potentially include extending 911 texting to all Canadians.