UBCM Resolution Highlights Path Forward For Ailing 9-1-1 System – But Action Is Required From Elected Leaders

  • September 12, 2023

Vancouver, BC – When the UBCM Convention takes place next week, delegates from across the province will consider a resolution aimed at addressing systemic issues that are plaguing BC’s 9-1-1 emergency response system – but the union representing dispatch operators says elected leaders need to move beyond talk, with meaningful action.

For the past two years, CUPE 8911 which represents 9-1-1 dispatch operators, has sounded the alarm about chronic underfunding and understaffing. Likewise, they have also raised concerns about the lack of consistent service or response standards to measure when the system is or isn’t meeting expectations – much less keep up with rising demands. 

From September 18-22, BC’s elected local government representatives will gather in Vancouver to discuss, debate and vote on a host of critical issues – but perhaps none more important than Resolution ‘SR2 911 – Emergency Communications Service Delivery,’ which says:

The Province of BC work with local governments to modernize the 911 emergency communications system in a manner that is consistent with recent UBCM advocacy, and which includes the following:  Implementation of a 911 call answer levy on cellular devices, to address current and future financial challenges associated with the delivery of 911 services; development of consistent 911 service standards, without increasing service costs for local governments;  creation of a provincial 911 governance model, with local government representation, to address policy and service standard issues, and manage revenue; and Integration of mental health call options within the 911 framework.’

“The resolution reflects the need to modernize our 9-1-1 system and creates a path for sustainable and predicable funding and development of consistent service and response standards,” said CUPE 8911 President Donald Grant. “However, what is needed more than words is a genuine show of support for the system and those on the front lines. Our elected leaders can demonstrate leadership by adopting this path so critical emergency services can be delivered in a manner that British Columbians need and deserve.”

Resolution SR2 911 – Emergency Communications Service Delivery can be found here (page 27)

About Emergency Communications Professionals of British Columbia:

ECPBC represents more than five hundred 9-1-1 operators, call takers, dispatchers, IT, and support professionals employed by E-Comm Emergency Communications for BC Inc. With worksites in Vancouver, Burnaby, and Saanich, ECPBC’s members provide 99% of the initial 9-1-1 call answer for the province and answer, triage, dispatch, and update the calls in order of priority for 33 police agencies and 40 fire departments in B.C.