Northern Rockies Regional Municipality

9-1-1: Frequently Asked Questions

Contents

What options exist to fund 9-1-1 service?

How much will 9-1-1 cost residents and the Municipality?

How did the Municipality establish 9-1-1?

Why isn’t the Public Safety Answer Point (PSAP) provider local?

What types of 9-1-1 service exist?

What’s next for the Northern Rockies?

Will the existing ten-digit emergency numbers still work?

What would you like to know about 9-1-1?

What options exist to fund 9-1-1 service?

In British Columbia, local governments are responsible for funding 9-1-1 service. Some local governments fund 9-1-1 through a levy charged on landline phones. Legislation, however, does not allow for a similar levy on mobile phones. Many residents in the Northern Rockies use mobile phones instead of landline-based phones. As the number of landline users decreases, using such a levy would require the Municipality to increase charges on remaining users.

Alternatively, taxation is often used by local governments to fund emergency calling services since it distributes the cost of a universal service across a broader base of users with little impact to tax bills. The Municipality will use taxation to fund 9-1-1.

How much will 9-1-1 cost residents and the Municipality?

In 2021, the Municipality will pay roughly $68,000, which includes a $15,000 one-time start-up expense. This cost will drop to $53,000 in 2022.

Residential properties will be taxed roughly $2/year for 9-1-1 service. This table lists various tax rates per $100,000 of assessed property value.

Annual Tax Impact per $100,000 Assessment

 Category $100,000 
 Residential  $ 1.95
 Business  $ 5.66
 Rec Non-Profit  $ 0.62
 Farm  $ 0.95
 Industry  $6.44

How did the Municipality establish 9-1-1?

First, the Municipality contracted a Public Safety Answer Point (PSAP) to process all 9-1-1 calls originating from within the Northern Rockies. The Municipality contracted Grande Prairie Fire Department to provide this service. As the PSAP provider, Grande Prairie Fire will identify the required emergency service and transfer calls to police, ambulance or fire departments as appropriate. Emergency service providers will then dispatch the required service.

Second, the Municipality worked with Northwestel Inc., Telus Mobility and Bell Mobility to establish 9-1-1. These telecommunications service providers will forward 9-1-1 calls originating from landline and cellular devices to the PSAP provider.

Why isn’t the Public Safety Answer Point (PSAP) provider local?

The Grande Prairie PSAP (GP911) is able to provide Basic 9-1-1 service in a cost-effective manner. Because of our relatively low call volume, they are able to handle our calls without increasing the required staff.

GP911 is also willing to support Basic 9-1-1, where British Columbia PSAPs required that we provide Enhanced 9-1-1 (E911). Enhanced 9-1-1 service is not possible as the telephone infrastructure in the Municipality is not currently able to support Enhanced 9-1-1.

What types of 9-1-1 service exist?

The Municipality will establish Basic 9-1-1 service.

Enhanced 9-1-1 includes the features available through Basic 9-1-1 service. In addition to these features, Enhanced 9-1-1 automatically provides the operator with the caller’s phone number and location. Enhanced 9-1-1 allows the operator to transfer calls to the appropriate emergency response centre using a single button automatic transfer. Many local governments in British Columbia have Enhanced 9-1-1 service.

Next Generation 9-1-1 will establish the foundation for public emergency communications services in a wireless mobile society. Next Generation 9-1-1 is expected to allow the transmission of text, pictures, and video from a variety of devices. Next Generation 9-1-1 will also provide real-time location data. Next Generation 9-1-1 has not yet been implemented in British Columbia.

What’s next for the Northern Rockies?

Enhanced 9-1-1 will not be implemented as it requires a level of technology not currently available in the region. During the next decade, the Municipality will likely transition to Next Generation 9-1-1 alongside other local governments in Canada.

Will the existing ten-digit emergency numbers still work?

Yes, the existing ten-digit emergency numbers for police, ambulance and fire will remain in service. These emergency numbers will not be impacted by 9-1-1 service.

What would you like to know about 9-1-1?

Send your questions to JustAsk@NorthernRockies.ca or call 250.774.2541. 

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