CRTC initiates text messaging trial to improve the accessibility of 911 call centres

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OTTAWA-GATINEAU — Today, the Canadian Radio-television and
Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced a three-month trial that
will allow 911 call centres to communicate with pre-registered
participants with hearing and speech impairments by text message.

“This text messaging trial is one of the several initiatives that the CRTC is
exploring to improve the accessibility of communications services for the
hearing and speech impaired,” said Leonard Katz, the CRTC’s Acting
Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Telecommunications. “This trial will give
us the technical and operational information we need before making a final
a decision on whether to expand the program nationwide.”

The trial will involve participants in Vancouver, Toronto, Peel Region and
Montreal, and is expected to begin shortly. During the trial,
pre-registered participants will make test 911 calls. The 911 call
centres, participating in the trial, will be notified at the start of the
test calls that the caller has registered for the trial and will thus
respond by text message. Information from this trial will be used to
prepare a report regarding the feasibility of rolling out such a program
on a national basis.

In 2009, following its accessibility decision, the CRTC asked a group of
public safety representatives, telecommunications companies and the
hearing and speech impaired community to develop solutions to improve 911
access for persons with hearing or speech impairments. The trial is a
the result of their collaboration.

Telecom Decision CRTC 2012-101


The CRTC is an independent public authority that regulates and supervises
broadcasting and telecommunications in Canada.
Reference documents:
Telecom Decision CRTC 2010-224
Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2009-430


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