Additional 44 cent fee could be added to cell phone bills
911 operator Steph Schreiber says most of the calls she receives throughout the day are not emergencies.
Published Thursday, January 17, 2013 12:42PM MST
The province released its plans to bring in additional support for Alberta’s 911 call centres Thursday, including adding a charge to cell phone bills.
The government said planned legislation is designed to ensure the service is sustainable in the province.
“Alberta’s 911 service is absolutely essential and our government is acting to ensure the system not only continues to be available in the coming years, but gets even better by adapting to the new realities of cellphones, texting and other innovations,” Minister of Municipal Affairs Doug Griffiths said in a press release.
While a number of changes were outlined – the province said it will propose a 44 cent mandatory fee be added to the cell phone bills of Albertans.
Griffiths has said in the past that landline users already pay the same fee, as do cell phone customers in a number of other provinces.
The additional revenue would go directly to 911 call centres.
Aside from the fee, the province is planning to address other challenges faced by 911 call centres and operators, including creating province-wide standards for processes and procedures, providing additional legal protection to the centres, and helping call centres integrate technology such as GPS and texting into existing services.
A spokesperson at Municipal Affairs told CTV News the legislation will be tabled during the spring session, in the hopes that it will go into effect later this year.