Overview

No one can predict when an emergency is going to happen, but when it does, we depend on 911 operators to connect us with emergency services.

A number of standards and regulations are in place to ensure 911 services in Alberta are efficient, consistent and robust. These include:

Levies

The Emergency 911 Act established a monthly cellphone levy to help fund day-to-day operations and new technology advancements for the 911 centres across the province. One technology this levy helped pay for is 911 texting for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired.

The $0.44 cent monthly levy is charged on Alberta cellphones by telephone service providers. A portion of the fee covers the service provider and program area’s administration costs and the remainder goes directly to 911 call centres. This is equal to a landline levy telephone service provides have been collecting for over a decade.

The Emergency Levy Regulation outlines how the levy is billed and administrated.

Frivolous calls

Over 4 million 911 calls are made in Alberta each year. That’s why it’s important that 911 lines are only used for emergency calls and not frivolous calls, which tie up 911 public safety resources unnecessarily or abuse the 911 service.

Under the Emergency 911 Act, the fines for frivolous calls are:

  • $5,000 for first time offenders
  • $10,000 for repeat offenders

Accidental calls to 911 or calls made in good faith will not normally be considered frivolous calls.

Funding

The provincial levy collected from cellphones helps strengthen and support the delivery of 911 by:

  • covering some staff and training costs
  • updating hardware
  • funding new technology

Funding is granted to each call centre on a quarterly basis. Each centre receives $18,750 in base funding and the remainder is calculated based on the population that centre serves.

Table 1. Funds granted to 911 centres (actual payments by quarterly instalment)

Recipient 1st Payment – Aug 2018 2nd Payment – Nov 2018 3rd Payment – Feb 2019 4th Payment – May 2019 Total
City of Calgary $1,258,051.79 $1,198,328.27 $1,264,618.40 $1,297,851.55 $5,018,850.01
City of Edmonton $877,601.60 $836,212.44 $873,267.06 $896,230.20 $3,483,311.30
City of Red Deer $391,187.70 $373,239.46 $389,308.05 $400,158.77 $1,553,893.98
Parkland County $247,076.29 $236,072.96 $245,923.95 $252,028.72 $981,101.92
Strathcona County $198,603.53 $189,936.16 $197,695.83 $202,504.59 $788,740.11
City of Grande Prairie $187,113.45 $178,999.80 $186,263.73 $190,765.27 $743,142.25
City of Lethbridge $168,221.49 $161,018.27 $167,467.12 $171,463.54 $668,170.42
Foothills Regional Emergency Services Commission $131,988.49 $126,531.38 $118,595.74 $121,525.49 $498,641.10
Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo $124,360.97 $119,271.45 $123,827.96 $126,651.69 $494,112.07
City of Medicine Hat $94,902.66 $91,232.77 $94,518.33 $96,554.43 $377,208.19
City of St. Albert $79,155.83 $76,244.80 $78,850.97 $80,466.05 $314,717.65
Kyetech Canada Inc. $55,431.52 $52,900.27 $54,448.27 $56,211.79 $218,991.85
East Central 911 Call Answer Society $55,687.55 $53,907.48 $55,501.13 $55,815.62 $220,911.78
Bonnyville Regional Fire Authority $64,008.56 $61,827.49 $63,780.14 $64,990.22 $254,606.41
Yellowhead County $60,402.02 $58,394.75 $60,191.80 $61,305.46 $240,294.03
City of Camrose $46,645.41 $45,301.10 $46,504.63 $47,250.47 $185,701.61
Wheatland and Adjacent Districts Emergency Medical Services Association $40,303.58 $39,264.88 $40,194.80 $40,771.09 $160,534.35
City of Lloydminster $36,842.55 $35,970.65 $36,751.24 $37,234.99 $146,799.43
Town of Taber $35,082.57 $34,295.48 $35,000.14 $35,436.83 $139,815.02
Aeromedical Emergency Services Ltd. $19,983.19 $19,923.76 $19,976.96 $19,275.89 $79,159.80
Receiver General of Canada $22,977.28 $22,773.56 $22,955.94 $23,068.96 $91,775.74
Total $4,195,628.03 $4,011,647.18 $4,175,642.19 $4,277,561.62 $16,660,479.02