Jul 11, 2016
By Christine Ross
Toronto could become the first city in Canada where all residents can text 911 operators. City council votes this week on a motion by councillor Norm Kelly, who is asking the city to request the Toronto Police Services Board adopt emergency texting. In many parts of Canada, including Toronto, 911 texting is offered for people with hearing or speech impairments. But emergency texting for people without hearing or speech impairment is not available anywhere in Canada. The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission has started the framework something called “next generation 911”. This CRTC program could possibly extend 911 texting to all Canadians. Kelly’s motion will be tabled in a council session that starts Tuesday and continues Wednesday. During the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando Florida, several bar patrons texted friends and family to ask them to call for help because they were afraid they’d be heard by the shooter. In the United States, just over 650 of the country’s 6,000 emergency call centres accept 911 text messages.