FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government is working to ensure that enhanced, up-to-date 911 services are available as Canada moves toward next-generation technology.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has mandated that telephone network service providers enable a new Internet-based technology by March 2021, and that text message access to 911 services be available by March 2022. The current system is reaching capacity and will be decommissioned by March 2024.

“When people call 911 for help, they need to get the right resource to the right place in the fastest time possible,” said Public Safety Minister Carl Urquhart. “While the CRTC mandated this change, no federal funding is being provided to make the switch. However, this necessary improvement will ensure New Brunswickers can get the help they need as new technology is adopted.”

To facilitate the transition, the NB 911 service fee will increase to 97 cents a month per phone line from 53 cents a month per phone line. This increase takes effect Jan. 1, 2021.

There are six public safety answering points in the province (Edmundston, Fredericton, Saint John, Moncton, Miramichi and Bathurst) as well as two additional points that provide provincewide dispatch services for the RCMP and Ambulance Services.