Policy 1.1.36: Public Alerting Systems Policy

Effective Date: June 7, 2006


CBC/Radio-Canada is committed to contributing to the preservation of the life and physical integrity of all persons in Canada. In accordance with this commitment, CBC/Radio-Canada may participate in apolitical public alerting systems directed against public emergencies and/or abduction of children situations.

CBC/Radio-Canada may only participate in public emergency alerting systems which are exclusively directed at:

  • impeding or eminent threats
  • to the physical security of
  • a significant number of individuals in Canada that
  • can be averted or minimised through the dissemination of appropriate information.

A threat to property or a limited number of individuals is insufficient to allow CBC/Radio-Canada participation in a public emergency alerting system. Notwithstanding the foregoing conditions, due to the special consideration afforded by Canadian society to children, CBC/Radio-Canada may also participate in abduction alerting systems provided that:

  • The victim is a minor;
  • The authorities have reasonable grounds to believe the victim has been abducted;
  • The authorities have reasonable grounds to believe that the victim’s life or physical integrity is seriously threatened;
  • The authorities have sufficient information about the victim, abductor and/or abductor’s vehicle to allow the public to identify them; and
  • The alert can be issued within a time frame providing a reasonable expectation that the victim or abductor may be located.

Transmissions issued pursuant to these alerting systems must be non-partisan, apolitical, as unobtrusive of programming as possible, and subject to appropriate protocols with the relevant federal, provincial, regional or municipal authorities, as the case may be.


Each Media Vice president or his delegate, in consultation with the Law department, the Engineering department and Communications, shall enter into agreements with the provincial, regional or municipal authorities, as the case may be, to establish and govern the functioning of these region-specific emergency and/or abduction alerting systems. The National Crisis Management Committee shall be promptly provided with a copy of each regional alerting system agreement entered into. The National Crisis Management Committee shall also be responsible for entering into agreements for nation wide alerting systems.

These alerting system agreements shall contain at least the following stipulations:

  • A precise definition of the conditions of activation of the alerting system in accordance with the policy statement above, and the conditions of termination of the alert.
  • Precise definition of the mechanism by which the alerts are activated, including contact persons and modes of communication and approval of the alert messages.
  • A guarantee and undertaking by the relevant authority that the alerting system shall not be used for political or partisan purposes.
  • A clear and narrow definition of the persons authorised to activate the alerting system so as to minimise the number of such individuals.
  • Undertakings to ensure that alerts shall be as unobtrusive of programming as possible, namely that in the case of television alerts the alerts shall be issued by crawl displays and that in the case of radio alerts the alerts shall not exceed 30 seconds in duration.
  • An undertaking that in no event shall CBC/Radio-Canada be held responsible for any a damages arising out of or in connection with the establishment, operation or implementation of the relevant alerting system and an appropriate indemnification of CBC/Radio-Canada by the relevant authorities in connection therewith.


The National Crisis Management Committee shall be ultimately responsible for the interpretation, application and implementation of the Policy corporation wide and each Media Vice-President or his delegate shall be responsible for the conclusion and implementation of region-specific alerting systems in accordance with the Policy.


  • Government Security Policy
  • Crisis Management Policy


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