The issuing government authority will determine what areas are affected by the alert message they are issuing. They will use an agreed to coding system established by Statistics Canada called the Standard Geographical Code. These codes typically correspond to census divisions and sub-divisions usually along municipal boundaries. The use of these codes will allow participating radio, TV, cable and satellite companies to identify and broadcast the alerts that are most relevant to the communities they serve.
It is possible for multiple alert messages to be issued related to the same event because the event touches on the mandate and responsibilities of more than one government body or because the nature of the event changes over time. However, emergency management officials are experts in their respective areas and coordinate activities, including public alerting very closely. In fact, most government authorities will be watching the NAAD System alerting data feed to monitor the warnings issued by other neighbouring authorities.
Until now there has been no national system to broadcast alerts. The Weather Network and MétéoMédia have always broadcast severe weather warnings for Environment Canada and will continue to do so as either a full page text message or as a scrolling display at the bottom of the page. It is expected that participating TV, cable and satellite companies will do something similar. Participating radio stations will play the audio messages where they are available.
The manner in which alerts will be broadcast is left to the discretion of the local television broadcaster, cable or satellite TV distributor. In most cases a crawl across the top or bottom of the screen or a full page display is expected.
The NAAD System and government authorities take security very seriously. In addition to the security measures that government agencies take every day to ensure access to their system is by authorized personnel only, additional login passwords and user identification is needed to access the NAAD System. Separately, Pelmorex’s NAAD System has measures to prevent unauthorized access by hackers or others. Finally, each individual message issued over the NAAD System will have a unique digital certificate to ensure its authenticity.
At the discretion of the government authority, alerts can be issued in languages other than English or French. Distribution of these messages to the public will be up to the individual TV, radio, cable or satellite operator.
Distribution of alert messages to the public by radio and TV stations, cable and satellite operators and telephone and cellular phone is voluntary. Over time it is expected that many will do so. It is also expected that “value-added” services like subscription text messages or emails services will be developed.
Previously issued alert messages can be seen on the RSS feed for 48 hours after it has been issued. As well, all alerts are archived indefinitely on the Archived Alert Messages section on this web site.
Issuing authorities may include reference within their alert to websites to get additional information. As well, it is expected that conventional TV and radio broadcasters will cover events as they occur.
Each province or territory will decide the level of authority it wants to delegate within its jurisdiction. For example, one province may decide that only one organization such as the provincial Emergency Management Office will have authority to issue an alert whereas another province may decide to allow local authorities such as, regional or municipal emergency management staff, police or fire departments to issue certain types of alerts. Certain federal authorities such as Environment Canada also access the NAAD System to distribute their weather warnings.
Pelmorex Communication Inc.’s (“Pelmorex”) National Alert Aggregation & Dissemination (NAAD) System provides Authorized Government Agencies across Canada with a simple, easily accessible means by which they can issue public safety messages. The NAAD System validates and authenticates the messages it receives to ensure they are indeed from the participating government authority and are compliant with certain agreed to standards and policies. After this, the NAAD System then aggregates all the alert messages it receives from government authorities into a data stream which it distributes over the internet and by satellite ensuring coverage across Canada. This allows “Last Mile Distributors” like radio and TV broadcasters, cable and satellite operators to broadcast the alert messages if they wish to.[/expand]