Some Canadians will be getting an emergency alert from the government on Nov. 28 — but it’s just a test.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale explained in a press release Monday that the alert will be sent through the Alert Ready program, Canada’s national public alerting system.
On Nov. 28, each province and territory will issue an alert over radio, TV and wireless networks at 1:55 p.m. local time. In Quebec, it will be an hour later at 2:55 p.m. local time.
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Will you get an alert?
Not all Canadians will be receiving a text message alert though. That depends on a variety of factors, including a phone’s software and wireless carrier.
The Alert Ready website explains that the majority of wireless carriers in Canada are compatible with the alerts.
To receive the alert, phone owners have to have a smartphone capable of connecting to an LTE network. The phone must also be connected to an LTE network at the time the alert is active.
Phones also must have the carrier’s latest software installed.
If phones meet all of these requirements but still fail to receive the alerts, they can contact their service provider.
Canadians cannot opt-out of the alerts themselves.
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Sorting out previous glitches
The text message system is being tested for the second time — it was first tested in May, but there were several technical difficulties.
Several people across the country reported that their phones met all the requirements, but they still did not receive a text.
“Regular testing helps ensure that we are prepared to deliver urgent and lifesaving warnings to the public in times of an emergency or disaster,” the press release explained.
More than 100 real wireless alerts have also been sent since April. For example, an emergency alert was sent to the Ottawa-Gatineau region on Sept. 21 as it dealt with tornadoes.
“Although Canada’s public alerting system could not save people’s homes or properties, it provided people with precious time to seek shelter from the catastrophic winds and flying debris,” the press released explained of the September alerts.