Enhanced 911 & your Cellphone
What is Basic 9-1-1 (B9-1-1) service?
If you dial 9-1-1 from your cellular device in an area where B9-1-1 service is provided, your call does not provide your location information to the typical emergency response centre for that area.
In some areas, your call may not automatically be sent to the typical emergency response centre for that area and may first be answered by a third-party operator.
You must be ready to provide your location information to the operator who will then route the emergency call to the appropriate emergency centre based on the information you provide.
You may then need to repeat your location since it is not automatically obtained or sent to the 9-1-1 agencies.
What is Enhanced 9-1-1 (E9-1-1) service?
E9-1-1 provides emergency operators with your cellular number (including area code) and your approximate location information, as determined by the nearest cellular tower handling the 9-1-1 call.
If you dial 9-1-1 from your mobile device in an area where E9-1-1 service is available, your call will be sent automatically to the appropriate emergency response centre for your region.
Always provide your name, mobile number (including area code) and location to the operator.
Availability of 9-1-1
All calls made from a cellular device are affected by the signal strength in your location. For example, your call to 9-1-1 may be affected if the call is placed from a covered or underground location. 9-1-1 service will not work during network outages, including during planned hardware or software upgrades.
In addition, 9-1-1 services are not available in Nunavut.
E9-1-1 service is available in most Bell Mobility coverage areas only if the local emergency operators that are handling your 9-1-1 call are equipped to receive your GPS / location information. E9-1-1 service is available in most Bell Mobility coverage areas including: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick, Northwest Territories, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia.
If you are unsure of the availability of B9-1-1 or E9-1-1 services in your area, please contact your local police or fire department or the municipal or provincial/territorial emergency service authorities. Do not dial 9-1-1 for this information.
Tips when calling 9-1-1
- Always provide your name, mobile number (including area code) and location to the operator.
- Stay on the line with the operator as long as required. Calls made to 9-1-1 will not be counted towards the minutes in your rate plan.
- Do not hang up until the emergency operator tells you to do so.
- Leave your mobile device turned on after hanging up in case the operator needs to call you back.
- Stay on the line with the operator if you experience a few seconds of intermittent audio at the beginning of your call. Do not hang up and call back. This is a normal operation and may occur while the network is processing your location information.
- 9-1-1 can be dialed from a locked device. “Emergency Call” is available from the lock screen.
- A phone does not need to have an active account to allow 9-1-1 calls. It only needs to be charged.
- Do not program 9-1-1 into your speed dial or contacts. This will increase the likelihood of accidental calls
Limitations of your cellular service
Your cellular service, including 9-1-1, may not be available due to environmental or topographical conditions that could affect cellular signal strength or coverage. For example, your call to 9-1-1 may be affected if the call is placed from a covered or underground location.
Bell does not guarantee your cellular service, including 9-1-1 service, will work on devices:
a) not purchased directly from Bruce Telecom/Bell (or its corporate or dealer locations), or
b) modified in a way which Bruce Telecom/Bell has not authorized (including via manufacturer or third-party software updates, third-party device unlocking services or device tampering).
9-1-1 service does not work with all devices or rate plans (defined below): certain devices like tablets, modems and Turbo Sticks/Hubs or devices equipped with data-only rate plans may not support, or be intended for, voice services and either can’t be used to call or access 9-1-1 or, if 9-1-1 access is available, it may include important limitations such as, for example, the 9-1-1 operator’s inability to call you back in the event your call is disconnected.
What is Text with 9-1-1 (T9-1-1) service?
Text with 9-1-1 (T9-1-1) is a free-of-charge service that allows deaf or hard of hearing users to communicate with a 9-1-1 call centre in the form of text messaging, also known as Short Message Service (SMS).
T9-1-1 provides the 9-1-1 caller’s cellular number (including area code) and approximate location information to the emergency operator.
T9-1-1 is not available in B9-1-1 areas and is not compatible with Wi-Fi Calling.
For more information, including T9-1-1 service availability, compatible cellular phones, eligibility rules, how to register and how to make a T9-1-1 call, please visit the T9-1-1 page from the Bell Accessibility services centre.
9-1-1 with Wi-Fi Calling
Wi-Fi Calling allows you to use your phone in locations where you may not have ideal cell reception, including basements, in buildings, underground, hospitals, warehouses and stores.
Wi-Fi Calling lets you make and receive calls, or send and receive text, video, and picture messages in any location in Canada that is out of cellular coverage and has a Wi-Fi network you can connect to.
Wi-Fi Calling is available with select rate plans and uses data from an available Wi-Fi network.
IMPORTANT: 9-1-1 support is limited over Wi-Fi. Emergency personnel are not able to track your location when you call 9-1-1 through Wi-Fi Calling. In the event of an emergency, a 9-1-1 dispatcher will require an address to locate your whereabouts. If you are unable to communicate with the 9-1-1 operator, they will dispatch help to the address listed in your Wi-Fi Calling settings. Please update this address when you change locations.
T9-1-1 is not compatible with Wi-Fi Calling. For more information, visit bell.ca/wificalling.
Limitations of Wi-Fi Calling on 9-1-1 calls
What are the limitations of Wi-Fi Calling on 9-1-1 calls? You should always attempt to complete 9-1-1 emergency calls through your mobile service (or landline), if available. Because of the unique nature of Voice over Internet Protocol technology, emergency calls routed to 9-1-1 through Wi-Fi Calling will be handled differently than when made on a mobile network. The following provisions describe the differences and limitations of 9-1-1 emergency call routings, and you acknowledge and agree to these differences and limitations with respect to 9-1-1 calls placed to emergency services from your Device. In addition, you acknowledge and agree that you are responsible for notifying, and shall notify, any user (and potential user) of your Device accessing Wi-Fi Calling of the nature and limitations of placing emergency calls to 9-1-1 through Wi-Fi Calling.
- Are there any times when the Bell Services are not available? Yes. Bell Services, including your 9-1-1 emergency call routing service (“9-1-1 Service“) will not work during network outages, including during planned hardware or software upgrades.
- Are there any times when Wi-Fi Calling is not available? Yes. Wi-Fi Calling, including your 9-1-1 Service, will not work under the following conditions:
- during power outages if there is no battery back up in the Wi-Fi access-enabling equipment, or once any such battery back-up has been depleted;
- if the Wi-Fi access-enabling equipment you are using has been tampered with or damaged; and
- if the Wi-Fi access-enabling equipment or Internet connection have insufficient capacity available.
For Wi-Fi Services (including 9-1-1 Service) to work in your place of residence or business, you are responsible for: (1) the supply of electrical power; and (2) the proper maintenance of your Wi-Fi access-enabling equipment, including replacing the battery, if any, and contacting your Internet service provider for technical servicing as required.
- Can I access and dial the 9-1-1 Service with Wi-Fi Calling? That depends where you are dialing 9-1-1 from (“Emergency Call“):
- Emergency Calls made from your Device on a mobile network: When you dial 9-1-1 from your Device, your Emergency Call is handled in the same manner as emergency calls dialed from a mobile phone service (i.e., your Emergency Call and location information are automatically sent to the nearest emergency centre).
- Emergency Calls made in Canada from your Device without access to mobile service: You may still be able to make an Emergency Call with Wi-Fi Calling without access to mobile service. However, there are important limitations which you must explain to anyone using Wi-Fi Calling on your Device. Your Emergency Call and location information are not automatically sent to the nearest emergency centre. The Emergency Call is first answered by a third-party operator. You must be ready to provide your location to the operator who will then route the Emergency Call to the appropriate emergency response centre based on the location you provide. If you cannot speak, do not hang up. Wi-Fi Calling allows you to verify and update your location through your Device settings. This location information will be transmitted to the operator who will then route the Emergency Call based on the address in your Device settings. This is why it is crucial that you keep the location information up-to-date within your Device settings.
- Emergency Calls made when there are multiple Devices enabled for Wi-Fi Calling using the same login credential (i.e., mobile number): If your Emergency Call is disconnected, you will not be able to answer a call-back from the operator or emergency centre if the call is answered by one of the other Devices beforehand.
- Emergency Calls made from outside of Canada: Do not use Wi-Fi Calling. An operator may answer the call but will not be able to transfer it to the appropriate emergency response centre.
- Can I use text with 911 using Wi-Fi Calling? No. Wi-Fi Calling does not support T9-1-1. In order to use T9-1-1, you will need to do so over a mobile network and you must first register with Bell as a T9-1-1 user.
- Can I seamlessly transition from Wi-Fi Calling to mobile service? No. If you begin an Emergency Call with Wi-Fi Calling and subsequently move to an area where mobile service is available but the Wi-Fi signal is not, the call will drop and you will need to place a new 911 call over a mobile network.
- What else should I know about making Emergency Calls through Wi-Fi Calling? First, if there is a delay by the operator in answering your Emergency Call, you may need to attempt the call again. Second, to make your Emergency Call on speakerphone, first connect with the operator before you select the speakerphone option on your Device.