Ontario’s Emergency Public Warning System is a tool that provides timely and accurate information to Ontario residents, businesses and visitors during an emergency.
The system allows Ontarians to receive three types of warnings:
Ontario launched the Red Alert program in May 2008. The system was modeled after the successful Amber Alert program which is operated jointly between the Ontario Association of Broadcasters (OAB) and the Ontario Provincial Police. The system consisted of issuing Red Alerts through OAB, Pelmorex (The Weather Network), Canada News Wire, Toronto Sun and Toronto Star, OnStar™ and other media groups.
The Red Alert program has evolved into Ontario’s Emergency Public Warning System which involved a number of enhancements, including:
The province issues a Red Alert to provide recommended immediate actions to protect citizens, their families and others when there is an imminent threat to life, public safety or property.
Some situations in which a Red Alert may be issued include:
Red Alerts are issued by the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management’s Provincial Emergency Operations Centre when the following three criteria are satisfied:
Red Alerts will be posted on the Emergency Management Ontario website and may be distributed through various media outlets, email subscriber services, SMS text messaging, RSS feed, Facebook and Twitter notifications.
The process of issuing a Red Alert is very quick. Every effort will be made to ensure the timely distribution of an Alert; however, accuracy of information must not be compromised.
Red Alerts will be issued in English and French. Given the urgency of the situation, Alerts will always be posted in English first, followed by French as soon as possible.
An Emergency Information Advisory provides information to Ontarians about current or evolving emergency situations or significant events.
Advisories may provide further instruction on actions to take.
Some situations in which an Emergency Information Advisory might be issued include:
An Advisory will be issued by the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre if the incident is of provincial significance. One of the following criteria must be met:
Information about a breaking emergency will be posted on the Emergency Management Ontario website and also distributed through email subscriber services, SMS text messaging, RSS feed and Twitter notifications.
The process of issuing an Emergency Information Advisory is very quick. Every effort will be made to ensure the timely distribution of an Advisory; however, accuracy of information must not be compromised.
Advisories will be issued in English and French. Advisories will always be posted in English first, followed by French as soon as possible.
A Tornado Warning is issued when a tornado is either imminent or occurring in a given area. Environment Canada and EMO will issue a joint alert for tornadoes that include protective action measures for the general public.
Information will be posted on the Emergency Management Ontario website and also distributed through email subscriber services, SMS text messaging, RSS feeds.
Immediately from Environment Canada via OFMEM distribution list.
Tornado Warnings will be issued in English and French.
Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication (RSS) sends all of your news to one place. RSS feeds are pulled together through a web-based reader or through desktop software you download and install. You can subscribe to receive Red Alert, Emergency Information Advisory or Tornado Warning RSS feeds through the Emergency Management Ontario website.
Short Message Service (SMS) is a service that allows for short text messages to be sent to your mobile device. You can subscribe to receive Red Alert, Emergency Information Advisory or Tornado Warning text messages through the Emergency Management Ontario website.
Red Alerts, Emergency Information Advisories and Tornado Warnings will be issued from the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre. They will always be sent from the same email address at email@example.com.
Yes, messages will vary according to the mode of communication used. Every communication method has different limitations. For example, messages received by email can be longer than text messages and Twitter messages.
Any personal information you provide, including your email address, will only be used to send you emergency information through Alerts, Advisories or Warnings. You will not be placed on any other mailing lists, and your information will not be released to any third party.
For complete details, please see Ontario’s privacy statement.
To sign up for Alerts, Advisories or Warnings, please visit www.ontario.ca/emo.
You can cancel your subscription to email Alerts, Advisories or Warnings any time by clicking the "unsubscribe” link at the bottom of any Alert or Advisory email you receive.
You can cancel your subscription to SMS text messaging by texting “unsubscribe” from your mobile device to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yes, anyone can register to receive email Alerts, Advisories or Warnings; however, you must have a mobile device from one of the following Canadian or US service providers to receive text messages. If your service provider is not listed please contact us.
There are over 200 hundred service providers within Canada and the US. We have chosen the most common service providers that have email to SMS gateways. However, if your service provider is not listed please contact us and we can update the service providers list if they have an email to SMS gateway.
Some Canadian service providers that currently DO NOT offer an email to SMS gateway include:
If your personal information changes you will need to unsubscribe and re-subscribe with your new information.
No, you cannot suspend your account. If you do not want to receive emergency warnings for a specific period of time you must unsubscribe and later re-subscribe when you are ready to receive them again.
Yes, you can add as many phone numbers or email addresses as you would like. However, you will need to repeat the registration process for every additional number or email address that you wish to include.
Please send all questions and concerns by contacting us.
Internet Service Providers use a number of different methods to prevent unsolicited commercial email (junk mail or spam) from being delivered to a user’s mailbox. Some of these methods may mistakenly identify email@example.com as such and as a result will not deliver the Alert or Advisory to the recipient. To assure you receive all of the warnings sent through email please add firstname.lastname@example.org to your address book or safe-sender list.
After an account is created, you must confirm the account before you will receive a message. Upon registration, you should have received an email asking you to confirm your account. You must respond in order to activate your account. Please also refer to question 30 for information regarding spam filters.
Before you contact us, check your junk folder to make sure the email was not sent there. In addition, try adding email@example.com to your email safe-sender list.
Please email your phone number and service provider to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line unsubscribe. You will then be unsubscribed.