Chances are that by now you've seen or heard one of Canada's official emergency alerts. Whether it was for an Amber Alert or one of their previous tests, the Alert Ready system is easily recognizable by its loud notification tone and messages that take over your phone. If you haven't heard it yet, you have another chance as Canada announces another test date of their emergency alert system.
Alert Ready, who operates the system, has announced that the test will take place in every single province and territory on Wednesday, May 8. Not only will the test alert be sent out over mobile devices in Canada, but it will also be broadcast on radio and tv too. Some wireless carriers in Canada have also sent their customers warnings about the upcoming test via text messages recently.
However Alert Ready reminds Canadians that even if you received these texts about the upcoming test, your phone may not be eligible to receive the actual alerts. Only compatible phones that are connected to an LTE network are able to receive alerts through this system, but this has actually proven effective in the past.
In fact, in a few cases now this alert system has been successful in terms of Amber Alerts, but it has also been very controversial.
In three recent cases, the emergency alert system was used to send out an Amber Alert for missing children. In two of those incidents, the alerts were sent out at night time, which led to a lot of backlash from Canadians who were not pleased about the loud tone from the alerts waking them up and frightening them.
In response to those alerts, people actually took to Twitter saying that they thought the alerts were unnecessary, a public nuisance and that the government should really cut back on the use of this system.
One case in particular where this reaction was especially bad was the tragic case of Riya Rajkumar. 11-year-old Riya, from Brampton, was taken by her father and later found dead. Her father was taken into police custody but also died later, from self-inflicted wounds.
In that case, the Amber Alert was issued later at night, and in the middle of a hockey game. These two factors were enough to anger a shockingly large number of Ontarians who actually called 911 to complain that the alert had woken them up or frightened them.
While the Alert System has clearly been controversial and scared people in the past, hopefully, that won't be the case with this next test. The test is on May 8, which means that Alert Ready is notifying Canadians about it more than one month in advance, so no one should be surprised when it actually happens.
The test alert will take place at different times, depending on where you are in the country. In BC and the Yukon, it will be at 1:55 PM PDT (4:55 EDT). In Albert and Northwest Territories it will be at 1:55 PM MDT (3:55 EDT). In Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the alert will be at 1:55 PM CDT (2:55 PM EDT). In Ontario, the test will happen at the same time as in Manitoba and Saskatchewan at 2:55 PM EDT.
Meanwhile, in Quebec and Nunavut, it will be at 1:55 PM EDT. In New Brunswick, PEI, and Nova Scotia, the alert will be at 1:55 PM ADT (12:55 EDT). Finally, in Newfoundland, the test will happen at 1:55 PM NDT (12:25 EDT).