911 Implementation Project


What work has taken place to implement 9-1-1 in the NWT?

The GNWT has completed a 9-1-1 study (2015) to identify viable options for implementation of a territorial-wide 9-1-1 system. Based in part on the outcomes of this study, the Standing Committee on Government Operations has directed Municipal and Community Affairs to proceed with implementation. Work has begun on these key areas:

  • assigning a 9-1-1 program manager;
  • developing legislative proposals;
  • validating the study implementation options, including any new GNWT options;
  • planning communications; and
  • planning project implementation.

The GNWT has not made a decision regarding the physical location or final organizational design of the 9-1-1 service. Additional work is required to ensure the cost data and planning assumptions are accurate.

Which organizations participated in the 2015 GNWT 9-1-1 study?

The study included stakeholders from the RCMP, NWTAC (NWT Association of Communities) and Northwestel, as well as the Departments of Justice, Health and Social Services, and Transportation. The 9-1-1 Implementation Project requires a highly collaborative approach, and it was important that key stakeholders began working closely from the outset.  

Have NWT communities been consulted about 9-1-1?

During the May 2014 NWTAC (NWT Association of Communities) annual general meeting, Municipal and Community Affairs surveyed municipal leaders. A majority felt that the NWT should have a 9-1-1 system to improve public access to available emergency services and that communities should not have to pay for it. The NWTAC has been a valuable part of the 9-1-1 project team since this work started in 2014.

What would 9-1-1 mean for communities if implemented?

Dialing 9-1-1 from any telephone would link a caller to an emergency dispatch centre, which could send emergency responders to the caller's location in an emergency. If a community does not have such services, calls would be transferred to the nearest service provider or designated community. Reaching a 9-1-1 dispatcher would not guarantee that emergency services would be able to respond to the call, as these services are funded and operated separately from the 9-1-1 program.

What will my community have to do to prepare for 9-1-1?

In other jurisdictions, communities have considered a formal street numbering system to help guide first responders to a caller’s location. Plans have also been established to identify primary 9-1-1 contacts for local service providers (or the nearest service provider) and to ensure standard operating procedures are in place.

The GNWT is working now to help communities achieve these goals, regardless of whether 9-1-1 goes ahead.  

Would implementation require all communities to participate?

As with other provincial 9-1-1 systems, communities would be able to choose the emergency services they offer and how they offer them. However, the 9-1-1 call centre would be available from the onset to everyone.

Will communities have to pay for 9-1-1?

Municipalities will not have to fund the service. As in other jurisdictions, 9-1-1 will be paid for through a combination of user fees (to landline and cell phone subscribers) and provincial or territorial funding.

NWT telephone and cell phone users (including Internet-based telephone users) will be charged a small monthly fee (actual amount to be determined based on final implementation plan) that will appear on their phone bill. User fees for 9-1-1 are charged throughout Canada and internationally. No fees will be charged in the NWT until the service is being provided.

Who would answer 9-1-1 calls for my community?

A decision has been made to proceed with a 9-1-1 dispatch centre located in the NWT. Additional work is required to validate the results of the GNWT 9-1-1 study (2015), including new options for services within the NWT.

Once 9-1-1 has been implemented, will we keep the current 1111, 2222 system?

When implemented, 9-1-1 would become the active emergency contact system and the current system would end. This approach helps to eliminate any possibility of confusion for callers.