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911 service in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and P.E.I. disrupted Tuesday

Emergency Management Office issues province-wide alert

3 min read
caption (File photo) A senior holding a smartphone in Halifax.
Nick Cantar

John Lohr is looking into Tuesday’s 911 outage in the province and said that getting to the bottom of the incident is “my top concern.”

Lohr, the minister responsible for the Nova Scotia Emergency Management Office, was notified at 7 a.m. that the service was disrupted in three provinces.

Bell Aliant is currently investigating the cause of the incident. 

“Today’s 911 outage was an event never before experienced in our province,” Lohr said. “Nine-one-one is critical infrastructure and an outage of any size creates concern and worry.”

The system was restored after 9 a.m. Tuesday. 

Lohr said the delays in restoring service happened because the 911 service was down in some parts of the province, but not others.

He said it took time to activate the Provincial Co-ordination Centre and figure out where the service was disrupted.

A person with glasses is shown on a screen during a virtual Zoom meeting with other people present on the screen.
caption John Lohr, minister for the Nova Scotia Emergency Management Office, holds a debrief for the 911 service disruption on Zoom.
SCREENSHOT: Shazara Khan

Lohr said it also took time to confirm that the alternate phone numbers provided were functional.

“Understanding the full impact and breadth of this outage is my top concern and I will say that it is extremely concerning,” he said. “We’re aware of how disconcerting this would be for the province to not have this service for two hours this morning.”

Paul Mason, the executive director of the Nova Scotia Emergency Management Office, said alerts were issued on multiple platforms.

“The alert was distributed on all three platforms that (the 911 system) utilizes,” he said. “So it was sent to cellular, but also television and radio.”

Mason said the Nova Scotia Emergency Management Office learned about the issue through the public safety answering points in the province. He said Bell also advised the office about an issue with the 911 service. 

Mason said the interruption occurred in all three provinces because their 911 calls are routed to the same facility in Edmonton.

Lohr said he and Mason will hold a debrief for New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, where they will engage with the Emergency Management Offices from there.

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Shazara Khan

Shazara Khan is a journalism student at the University of King's College. Before coming to Halifax, she got a Bachelor of Science from her hometown...

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