New 911 Standards to Better Protect Albertans

New provincial standards will increase public safety by making 911 service more consistent across the province.

Minister Anderson receives a tour of the Edmonton Police Service 911 call centre from Inspector Graham Hogg.

The standards will apply to Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs), the first people on the line when you call 911. PSAPs are responsible for dispatching calls to the necessary emergency service.

The 911 system in Alberta is currently led at the local level, and although municipalities will continue to deliver and run 911 services, the standards will create a more consistent approach.

The new procedures will align processes in answering and transferring emergency phone calls, and will:

  • Establish an agreed upon terminology.
  • Set performance targets requiring calls be answered within 15 seconds and transferred within 60 seconds after answering, 95 per cent of the time.
  • Require centres to have a quality assurance plan and annual internal audit processes.
  • Mandate that centres have backup procedures to ensure 24/7 service continuity in the event of an outage or disruption.

“Albertans should receive quality 911 service and know the emergency response system is there for them when they need it – no matter where in the province they live. I am proud that our new standards will ensure timely service, whether you live in Cardston or Calgary, Edmonton or Ensign.”

~Shaye Anderson, Minister of Municipal Affairs

The standards were developed in collaboration with members of the Alberta 911 Association, including PSAPs, and other 911 stakeholders, such as policing organizations, Alberta Health Services and TELUS.

“These standards are a very positive step to ensure everyone receives reliable and consistent 911 services. The AEAA is pleased to have been a part of this collaborative process to improve public safety for citizens.”

~Magni Magnason, chair, Alberta E911 Advisory Association

“The Edmonton Police Service is honoured to have participated in the development of the Alberta 911 standards and we’re proud of the single, cohesive approach to answering 911 calls that has been created. The standards will help us and our partner agencies work toward the common goal of ongoing community safety.”

~Brian Simpson, Deputy Chief, Edmonton Police Service

The Alberta 911 Program, a unit within the Government of Alberta, will work with PSAPs to maintain the standards and ensure compliance. PSAPs will have until June 12, 2019 to fully comply.

Quick facts

  • The Emergency 911 Act, which supports the local delivery of 911, came into force in 2014 and empowered the Minister of Municipal Affairs to create provincial 911 standards.
  • There are 21 regional 911 centres, which receive an average of 4.3 million calls a year. A large 911 centre, such as Calgary, may take about 30,000 calls in one month.
  • Other Canadian provinces that have standards in place include Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
  • Costs PSAPs incur to comply with the standards are eligible under the Alberta 911 grant program.