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Swedish Officials Look to Canada’s Dedicated First-Responders Network for Insights

Critical Communication Networks Essential

Canada’s award-winning Public Safety Broadband Network Innovation Alliance’s (PIA) development of a dedicated, fail-safe communication system for first responders continues to attract international attention. Yesterday, the PIA met with a delegation from Sweden in Halton region to discuss its governance and operating models.

In the digital age, ensuring that first responders have continuous access to broadband communications has emerged as an important public safety issue. In day-to-day use, and in times of crisis, fire, police, ambulance and other emergency responders often find themselves without critical information or out of contact because of system outages, overloads, or incompatibility.

“Creating and operating critical communication networks is extremely important to public safety, and access to reliable and resilient data is growing in importance every year. This is a vital issue around the world, and being able to work with other nations and international organizations to share knowledge is a benefit to all,” said Anthony Odoardi, PIA Executive Director and Peel Regional Police Deputy Chief.

The PIA is a not-for-profit Public Safety organization that oversees Canada’s only dedicated first-responder wireless “network of networks”, providing coverage for first responders that keeps over 3 million people in Ontario safe. Its members include a diverse set of emergency response stakeholders, such as the Halton and Peel Police Services, the Greater Toronto Airport Authority, transit agencies, utilities, university researchers, national and provincial public safety associations, and private sector members such as telecommunication companies and technology innovators.

Earlier this summer, the PIA won top honours for Best Collaborative Work at the prestigious International Critical Communications Awards in Vienna in recognition for its cutting-edge advocacy and work in establishing a Canadian governance framework, and for its tech innovation in a new model that helps build “First Mile” wireless access to 911 services across Canada’s rural and urban digital divide.

The Swedish delegation, including representatives from The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency and the Swedish Police Authority, are engaging with the PIA in knowledge sharing on the PIA’s governance and operating models – developed based on real-world use and experience in running Canada’s largest critical communication network; and practical guidance on collaboration in order to deliver a Public Safety Broadband Network (PSBN) nationwide.

“These collaborative engagements with critical communication authorities are essential to create emergency services networks that our citizens rely on. Sharing knowledge and utilizing best practices from our international peers is valuable in achieving this goal,” said Maria Tilander, International Cooperation Officer from MSB, Rakel.

“Canada’s PSBN system will be the critical technology framework for 911 operations over the next 25 years. The Halton Police developed and deployed model ensures that first responders have access to ‘always-on’ critical data in the moments that matter - across natural disasters and during day-to-day 911 calls. This mission critical technology will help save countless lives over the years ahead. With Peel Police’s partnership in co-founding the PIA this model has been further developed into a national framework. The PIA’s innovative PSBN model can also be a key telecom policy tool to help to promote 911 wireless access and response across Canada – no matter the location or existing infrastructure,” said Chief Stephen Tanner, Halton Regional Police Service.


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