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Ontario's Red Alert System

Archived Backgrounder

Ontario's Red Alert System

Ministry of the Solicitor General

Ontario's new Red Alert system is a partnership between Emergency Management Ontario (EMO), the Ontario Association of Broadcasters (OAB) and other media members, to relay early alerts to Ontarians about impending emergencies.

The system is modelled on the successful Amber Alert program operated jointly between the OAB and the Ontario Provincial Police. Amber Alerts are issued under specific conditions when a child is abducted.

Issuing A Red Alert

A Red Alert will be issued by EMO to radio stations members of the OAB, the Weather Network/Météomédia, the websites of the Toronto Sun and Toronto Star newspapers, and to OnStar subscribers in Ontario.

Municipal and/or ministry emergency management coordinators will notify EMO's duty officer, in the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre, of an impending emergency. The duty officer would then issue a Red Alert with scripted messages that would be sent to radio and television stations in the affected area. The messages would be read on-air, posted on participating websites and relayed to OnStar subscribers.

Red Alerts will inform Ontarians of the nature of the impending emergency, and what, if any, measures they should take to protect their family.

Red Alert Partners

The Red Alert program is a partnership between the Province of Ontario, through EMO, media organizations and other partners. They include:

  • The Ontario Association of Broadcasters
  • Pelmorex Media Inc. (the Weather Network/Météomédia)
  • The Toronto Star
  • The Toronto Sun
  • OnStar Canada.
    • Support For The Red Alert Program

      "As the original media partner, the Weather Network and MétéoMédia are pleased to be able to continue its support of the Red Alert program by expanding the distribution of alerts on our television services to include our websites, email and text messaging services," said The Weather Network/MétéoMédia Senior Vice-President Paul Temple.

      "Being ready for an emergency saves lives and protects property," said Deputy Minister of Emergency Planning and Management Jay C. Hope. "Red Alert helps Ontarians to prepare and it helps first responders, whose mission is to save lives."

      "Communications are key in the hours and minutes leading up to an emergency," said EMO Chief Dan Hefkey. "Red Alert is another tool for us to get the word out quickly so Ontarians can get prepared."

      "Our partnership with Emergency Management Ontario allows us to offer more up-to-date crisis response information to our subscribers," said OnStar President Chet Huber. "It will allow us to help our subscribers navigate out of harm's way during an emergency."

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