Importance of 911 in Remote & Rural Areas

Year
2019
Category
Selected Issues
NCLGA Ref#
R8

Status

NCLGA Executive Recommendation: Endorse | Endorsed by the NCLGA Membership

Details

Whereas more than 500,000 motorists use the rural and remote corridors throughout the Northern regions of the province annually, without access to consistent emergency 911 service;

And whereas the absence of 911 as a core emergency service has a financial and human cost, related to the health and safety of residents, visitors and commercial travellers, and with a negative impact on timely and appropriate emergency response:

Therefore be it resolved that the Province prioritize the establishment of 911 services across the Province in its entirety including adequate policy, administrative and financial support.

Responses

The Resolutions Committee notes that the UBCM membership has endorsed multiple resolutions in favour of a 911 call answer levy (2012-LR1, 2011-B13, 2009-B10, 2004-SR1), which if implemented would help address a number of concerns, including gaps in service provision throughout BC. Other challenges include:

·       A changing landscape that sees more users using cellular devices than landline telephones;

·       The introduction of Next Generation 911 technology, and costs associated with introducing these changes to the current system; and

·       Providing a fully functioning service that can be resilient, especially during a catastrophic event.

In 2013, a UBCM working group was tasked with examining issues and options surrounding the introduction of a province-wide call answer levy. After considerable work and consultation, the initiative was deemed to lack the local government support necessary to proceed. Several years later, the Province released a discussion paper examining the same issues. The UBCM Executive endorsed the provincial discussion paper and proposed call answer levy subject to an agreement with the Province on the establishment of an independent body to distribute revenue associated with this initiative.

The Province has recently re-started work on this initiative, and as of March 2019 is still considering UBCM's position.

North Central Local Government Association