Cablegate: Emergency Communications Protocol in Canada
DE RUEHOT #1407 3082208
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 032208Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY OTTAWA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8688
INFO RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN PRIORITY 1130
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0977
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1040
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 1383
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 3381
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC PRIORITY
UNCLAS OTTAWA 001407
STATE FOR WHA/CAN AND IRM/BPC/CST/EA GODWIN
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECPS ACAO AMGT ANET ECPS CA
SUBJECT: EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS PROTOCOL IN CANADA
REF: STATE 92121
1. (U) Summary: Canada's emergency telecom systems consist of
a priority access for dialing (also known as priority access
to dial tone or PAD) system for landline phones and a
wireless priority system (WPS) similar to the U.S. model.
The dated PAD system offers little benefit to the Embassy.
However, the GOC would welcome Mission Canada's participation
in the WPS. End Summary.
2. (SBU) Reftel requested information regarding potential
means for post to communicate locally and with Washington in
case of emergency and/or severe network overload. Christine
Volonte, Project Officer, National Emergency Telecom
Services, Industry Canada, told emboffs that Canada does not
have an emergency "end-to-end" priority service for landline
calls on par with the U.S Government Emergency Telecom
Service (GETS). Canada's emergency system provides Canadian
federal, provincial, and municipal officials only with
priority access to dial tone (PAD). Volonte noted that the
Canadian and U.S. telecom systems are well integrated and use
the same switching and routing. As a result, many Canadian
officials, herself included, have U.S. GETS cards that give
them access to the U.S. GETS system as long as they can get a
call through to a U.S. system.
3. (SBU) The Canadian PAD system is not compatible with voice
over internet protocol (VOIP), which is already used by
several Canadian municipalities, including Vancouver, the
host of the 2010 Olympics, Volonte said. She stated that the
technology needed to prioritize certain VOIP data packets
(particularly end-to-end) does not yet exist.
4. (SBU) Volonte believes that the Canadian PAD system would
not be beneficial to post. She said even in times of severe
stress on the Canadian telecom system, the Embassy's own
communications arrangements would likely allow Embassy
officials to obtain a dial tone due to the fact that we host
our own PBX system and have digital (T-1) lines.
Furthermore, she expects that the PAD system will eventually
be phased out.
5. (SBU) Canada's wireless priority service (WPS), according
to Volonte, is identical to the WPS in the United States.
The Canadian WPS does not offer end-to-end priority, but
rather helps prioritize phone to cell tower communication
during emergencies. The system is two years old, has less
than 1,000 subscribers, and is maintained by Rogers Wireless,
a private company. A second company, MTS Allstream, has
requested and been approved to offer WPS because they provide
Canada-wide telecom services but have not yet offered the WPS
service to customers. All domestic officials wishing to
subscribe to WPS must apply through Industry Canada, and
foreign officials must apply through the Department of
Foreign Affairs and International Trade. WPS in Canada has
issues identical to WPS in the United States regarding the
use of 3G (HSPA) handsets and at this point in time 2G phones
should be used to ensure access to WPS.
5. (U) Within the WPS, subscribers are separated into five
levels of priority:
Level 1: Executive Leadership and Decision Makers
Level 2: Disaster Response and Military Command and Control
Level 3: Public Health and Safety and Law Enforcement Command
Level 4: Public Service, Utilities, and Public Welfare
QLevel 4: Public Service, Utilities, and Public Welfare
Level 5: Disaster Recovery
6. (SBU) Mission Canada officials, should they subscribe to
WPS, would be assigned priority level 2. The subscription
costs 10 CAD/month/phone and 1 CAD per minute of use.
7. (U) For additional information visit Industry Canada's
site at www.ic.gc.ca and search for PAD.
Visit Canada,s Economy and Environment Forum at