Blue Line

Owen Sound Police Services to implement Next Generation 911 services for Gananoque

April 17, 2023  By Keith Dempsey, Local Journalism Initiative

Apr. 17, 2023, Gananoque, Ont. – The Town of Gananoque has signed a transfer payment agreement to receive $620,000 from the Solicitor General to support a Next Generation 911 (NG911) system.

And the town has awarded the NG911 contract to Owen Sound Police Services in the amount of $493,155.51 to implement the system.

At a recent council meeting, council heard that the existing 9-1-1 system has been in place for more than 30 years and has reached its end of life. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunication Commission (CRTC) has mandated the emergency telecommunications networks and 9-1-1 call centres, also referred to as Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs), must transition to a new 9-1-1 communication system, known as Next Generation (NG911), by March 4, 2025.

Once fully implemented, the new NG911 system will make it easier to provide additional details about emergency situations, such as video from the scene of an accident and ability to text 9-1-1 when requesting immediate help from police, fire, or ambulance services. It will also give emergency operators and dispatchers the ability to identify the location of a call using Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates, resulting in a safer, faster, and more informed emergency response.


A presentation was delivered to council by Carole Steacy, a Police Communicator and NG911 lead with the Gananoque Police Service.

As well, Gananoque Police Chief Scott Gee presented the history of NG911, and Owen Sound Police Service (OSPS) Chief Craig Ambrose and Chris Hill, head of IT, spoke to the capability of OSP’’s ability to store Gananoque’s data and monitor the NG911 services.

Council heard that the changeover from the current system to the NG911 system comes at a major financial cost to the town. Staff have been seeking out quotations and applying for grant opportunities.

The Ontario government has earmarked $208 million to help municipalities transition to NG911 technology. In late 2022, the Town applied for funding through the Next Generation 911 Grant Program. The Town was notified that it was successful on March 21.

The grant will cover the costs of NG911 implementation in accordance with the scope of works provided in the quote and grant criteria. The Gananoque Police Service will utilize the funding for the phase one transition costs including but not limited to licensing, hardware, software, training, cyber security, training, consulting and project management.

From Steacy’s presentation, it was noted that NG911 will allow transmission of data, in addition to voice, to accompany calls for service in the form of text messages, photos and video files from citizens and other sources to primary and secondary Primary Safety Answering Point (PSAP). Currently, only registered hearing impaired and comm centre supervisors, for training purposes, can text 9-1-1.

A PSAP is what the communications center functions as. What this means is one dials 9-1-1 in Gananoque and the surrounding area, the call is answered by a communicator in the Gananoque Police Comm Centre where they will deal with all police and fire related calls, down streaming any other calls to ambulance and other services required outside of the town.

In her presentation, Steacy noted that NG911 is important because the original 9-1-1 system was designed for analogue wireline phones, connected directly to central offices and then to the local Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). This was based on the latest and greatest technology available at the time, in the 1950s. A life before the advent of the internet, mobile phones, and the “i-Generation”. As technology advanced, so did the need to allow for the ability to receive information on the move.

– Brockville Recorder and Times

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