New technology changes the way Ontarians experience Amber Alerts

Mar 7, 2016 | Biz/Tech

Jess Reyes

The new Amber Alert grabbed the attention of the GTA television viewers Sunday evening.

The Ontario Provincial Police issued an Amber Alert at approximately 6 p.m. after reports of a possible child abduction in Orillia was broadcast across Toronto TV networks.

The message, followed by a loud buzzing noise, interrupted local broadcasts.

twitter/Peter G Goral


The new Amber Alert system was designed for the OPP to communicate with the public in a quicker way and prevent any harm to children.

The Canadian Wireless Telecommunication Association (CWTA) did not send an Amber Alert last night but has a similar system that contacts wireless cellular users.

Marc Choma, vice president of the CWTA, said the notification is available to all Canadian consumers who have cellphones but only when authorized by OPP.

“We designed this platform as a tool for the law enforcement agencies. [They] are the only ones that decide when and how an Amber Alert is issued,” Choma said.

He says users must sign up online through to receive notifications.

This purpose of a text message is for public notification away from home.

“You’re not always sitting in front of your television and you’re not always listening to the radio, but if you’re like most of us, your cellphone is not really far away at anytime,” Choma said.

After a year of development in creating the wireless Amber Alert platform, Choma says the number of users is not as high as he expected.

“We’re at about 52,000 and even though that sounds like a lot, when we have 29-million wireless phone customers in Canada, it really isn’t a lot,” he said.

Choma encourages every wireless user to sign up for Amber Alerts to help future incidents.

The report of the missing boy was later cancelled by the OPP who later announced that he “has been located and is safe.”

Police say this was a false abduction and the child had attempted to run away from home.