Emergency Alerts

SaskAlert is Saskatchewan's Emergency Public Alerting program used to alert the public in real-time of an emergency situation.

Wireless Public Alert Test - May 8, 2019

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) works with all provinces and territories to test the national emergency alerting system: Alert Ready. Saskatchewan will be participating in the two annual tests, the next one being scheduled for 1:55 p.m. on May 8, 2019. The test issued in Saskatchewan will appear on television, radio and compatible wireless devices, as well as through the SaskAlert app. For more information, please visit alertready.ca or contact your telecommunication provider.

During the test, the alert tone will go off on compatible cellphones with a wireless text message advising the cellphone user that the sound is part of a test and there is no need for concern. This type of wireless alerting is mandatory as per Federal requirements and it is not possible for Canadians to opt out of receiving these life-saving messages directly to their cellphones. If the cellphone is switched off or on silent mode, there will be no sound but a banner will be displayed and the phone may vibrate even if the phone is in silent mode.

Find out if your phone is compatible by checking with your cellphone provider or online at www.alertready.ca 

Starting April 6, 2018, you will begin receiving life-saving emergency alerts to cell phones and wireless devices that are compatible with wireless public alerting. The Canadian wireless public alerting system was developed by the federal government in partnership with the provinces and territories, Pelmorex Inc., the broadcasting industry and wireless service providers.

If you have questions about wireless alerting or the SaskAlert App, please check the Questions and Answers listed on this page. If you find, after checking the list, you still have questions, submit them to: muninfo@gov.sk.ca

Wireless Public Alerting - Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is wireless public alerting?
Wireless public alerting allows governments across Canada to send public safety messages directly to smartphones in a region. If there is an emergency in your local area you will get an alert on your compatible smartphone. For your phone to be compatible it should be connected to the 4G LTE network through your cell phone provider. You can learn more at alertready.ca, and check if your phone is compatible to receive wireless alerts.
2. When will wireless public alerting start?
Wireless alerting will be effective across Canada on April 6, 2018. You can receive a wireless alert anytime after this date.
3. Will all wireless devices receive alerts?
No. In order for emergency alerts to be received on a wireless device, three conditions must be met. The wireless device must be:

1. An LTE-device like a smartphone (LTE is commonly referred to as "4G LTE");
2. Wireless public alerting (WPA)-compatible; and
3. Connected to an LTE cellular network at the time the emergency alert is issued.

Visit the AlertReady website to find a link to your wireless service provider's website that provides information on compatible devices.
4. Are these wireless alerts sent as a text message?
No. While the wireless alert may look like a text message, it is not a text message. Wireless alerts are sent via cell broadcast distribution. Cell broadcast, similar to radio broadcast, is technology that allows messages to be broadcast to all compatible wireless devices within a designated geographical area. The alerts are one-way messages, there is no tool to reply to them.

Cell broadcast can be compared to radio broadcast. Radio towers broadcast music to people in defined geographic areas as long as the individuals can pick-up the broadcast signal and have their radios turned on. Cell broadcast messages similarly are delivered to those compatible wireless devices that are within range of cell towers and antennas in the designated area.
5. Are other mobile devices (e.g. tablets) capable of receiving wireless alerts?
Wireless service providers are required to distribute wireless emergency alerts to compatible smartphones that can access LTE cellular networks. Additional wireless devices such as tablets and smartwatches may be capable to receive some form of the message. However, it will not necessarily be received on the device in the Alert Ready format.

For information on compatible wireless devices offered by your wireless service provider, visit the AlertReady website.
6. Will wireless alerts interrupt or end a voice-call or another activity in progress?
Wireless alerts will not end or terminate a voice call or data session in progress.

If you are on a voice-call when the wireless alert is received, you will be made aware of the alert by a notification tone (similar to call waiting). When your call ends, the alert will be displayed on your wireless device.

If you are on a data session, your session will continue, but it may be briefly interrupted by the alert appearing on your wireless device screen.
7. Will I receive a wireless alert if my device is off or set to silent?
A compatible wireless device that is turned off will not display an alert. If the alert is still active when the wireless device is powered on and the user is still in the alert area, the wireless device will then display the alert.

A compatible wireless device that is set to silent will display an alert, but you might not hear the alert sound. The emergency alert sound will usually play at whatever the current volume setting is on the wireless device, so if your wireless device is set to silent, no sound will accompany the emergency alert message. In some instances the alert sound may override your user settings.
8. If my wireless device is off for an extended period of time, will the wireless alert appear once I turn my phone back on?
If the wireless alert is still active when the compatible device is turned back on and you are within the alert area, the wireless alert will be displayed. If the alert is no longer active or if you have travelled outside of the alert area, it will not be displayed.
9. Will I receive a wireless alert if my phone is connected to Wi-Fi?
If the compatible wireless device can still communicate with the LTE cellular network while on Wi-Fi, it will receive wireless alerts. If the wireless device is not within reach of the LTE cellular network or is set to Wi-Fi only, it will not receive an alert.
10. What should I do if I receive a test alert on my wireless device?
Test alert messages will be identified as such. Test alerts are intended to test the functionality of the system and inform consumers of wireless alerts. Test alerts do not require the consumer to take steps to secure their safety.

You may be required to acknowledge receipt of the wireless alert in order to allow for your wireless device to resume normal functioning. In the event that you cannot acknowledge the alert, the alert sound and vibration will continue for eight seconds. Depending on your specific wireless device, additional reminders may occur.
11. What should I do if I receive an alert on my wireless device?
Upon receiving the wireless alert, it is important to take action safely. Stop what you are doing when it is safe to do so and read the alert. The alert will include information from government officials on any actions you need to take.
12. What should I do if I receive an alert on my wireless device while driving?
It is important to take action safely, especially if the alert is received while operating a vehicle. If you are driving, it is important to remain calm and pull over at your earliest opportunity to view the wireless alert.
13. If I don't have unlimited texting or data within my mobile plan, will I be charged if I receive an emergency alert on my wireless device?
Wireless alerts are sent on a specific cellular channel that is separate from normal text and data traffic. While the alerts may look like text messages, they are not text messages and are not billed like text messages.

Wireless alerts do not require the phone numbers of cell phones, so there is no ability to identify or bill for the messages that are received.
14. Can I opt out of receiving emergency alerts on my wireless device?
No. Emergency alerts received on your compatible wireless device are relevant to you and require immediate attention. Emergency alerts are targeted, so if an alert reaches your device, you are in an area where there is immediate danger.

Government of Canada regulations require that all compatible wireless devices receive all relevant alerts.
15. Will I receive alerts on my wireless device if I'm travelling to or from another province or jurisdiction within Canada?
Yes. Wireless alerts are issued to a defined geographic area so that only people in the defined area will receive the alerts. If you are travelling and happen to be in another province when an alert is issued, your compatible wireless device will receive the alert for the area you are currently in, provided your phone is powered on and connected to the LTE cellular network.
16. Will I receive alerts on my wireless device relevant to where I live while I am travelling away from home?
No. If you are travelling, you will only receive wireless alerts that occur where you are.

You can keep track of emergency alerts occurring in specific areas through the Saskatchewan SaskAlert app and SaskAlert website at www.saskalert.ca
17. Will I still receive alerts if wireless device towers are affected by the situation?
Alerts are broadcast from cellular towers and antennas within the area specified by the alert issuer. If you are in an affected area but your wireless device is unable to connect to any towers/antennas because of the situation, you will not receive the alert on your wireless device. However, if your device still has WiFi access, it may be possible to receive emergency alerts through the Saskatchewan SaskAlert App. So make sure you download the app on your phone.
18. Will alerts sent to my wireless device be used to gather data about me?
No. Wireless alerts are sent using Cell Broadcast distribution. Cell Broadcast can only transmit information to your wireless device like a radio or TV. This means that no data is being gathered about you, your wireless device or your location when wireless alerts are sent out.
19. What is the difference between the Saskatchewan SaskAlert app and the new wireless alert?
Only the most serious, critical alerts will be sent to all methods of alerting communication: Radio, TV, the new wireless alerting system, SaskAlert App and website. Alerts that are classified as Emergency Advisory alerts will be delivered to you via the Saskatchewan SaskAlert App and SaskAlert website at www.saskalert.ca The wireless alert message will only contain basic information that the public needs to know to take immediate action; maps and more details on the emergency will be available from the SaskAlert app and SaskAlert website at www.saskalert.ca
20. Will I receive wireless alerts, if I have the Saskatchewan SaskAlert app on my smart phone?
The wireless alert messages will be delivered to your wireless device only if you are in the impacted area. The SaskAlert App can be set with location preferences, so depending on how you have the app set you may or may not receive the alert to the app.
21. Can I remove the Saskatchewan SaskAlert app from my phone now that wireless alerts are being sent to me?
This is not recommended. The SaskAlert App will provide more detail of the emergency and a map of the affected area. The SaskAlert App is also the only way you can receive Emergency Advisory alerts on your mobile phone.
22. Will the alert go off on my smartphone twice if I have the Saskatchewan SaskAlert app and receive a wireless alert message?
Yes. You will receive two alerts, one as a wireless alert message and the second one if your SaskAlert App has been set to pick up alerts for the location you currently are in. The wireless alert message will be a shortened version of the emergency alert issued and the SaskAlert App will have the complete version of the emergency alert issued.