Canadian Profile of the Common Alerting Protocol CAP-CP
Please note that the first review period for the CAP-CP documents is now closed. The comments received will be reviewed and a revised set of updated CAP-CP documents will be posted on this site in approximately one month for another 30-day review period. Responses to each of the comments received in the first round of public review will also be posted.
The contents of this website are overseen and managed by the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Communications Interoperability Working Group, who is supported by the advice and efforts of the CAP-CP 1.0 Specification Committee.
Table of contents
- Specifications Committee Membership
- Change Management
- Specification Documents
- Reference Information
The Canadian Profile of the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) is a set of rules, and managed lists of values, that are recommended for use in Canada. It is often referred to as the CAP-Canadian Profile or simply CAP-CP.
The Canadian Profile is conformant with the Common Alerting Protocol (the "Reference Standard") administered and managed by OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards); therefore a valid CAP-CP message is also a valid CAP message.
As with the Reference Standard, conformance with the CAP-CP is not limited to any one alerting methodology. In fact, significant effort has been made to ensure CAP-CP does not include bias to any one method, channel, system, or sub-group of alerting stakeholder. Additional rules specific to a method, channel, system, or sub-group are therefore outside the scope of the CAP-CP Working Group.
The CAP-CP primarily centers on four main requirements and constraints. They are as follows:
- Constraint of one subject event type per alert message
- Requirements associated with languages
- Requirements associated with event identification
- Requirements associated with location identification
Additionally, there are other rules and recommendations intended to help overcome implementation challenges that have been identified by the early adopters of CAP and CAP-CP.
More specific information can be found in the Rules, Version 1.0 (draft) document.
In recognition of the importance of interoperable emergency communications to the safety and security of Canadians, a CAP-CP 1.0 Specifications Committee (SC) was established by the Federal/Provincial/Territorial (F/P/T) Interoperability Working Group (IWG) of Senior Officials Responsible for Emergency Management (SOREM), with the support of the Public Safety Canada (PS) Interoperability Development Office (IDO).
The CAP-CP 1.0 SC works on developing, approving and maintaining the technical content requirements to the specification documents that comprise CAP-CP version 1.0.
Specifications Committee Membership
The SC membership includes a Chair, Vice-Chair and Secretary. While a balanced matrix of interest categories among voting members will be an enduring objective, a high priority is to expedite the availability for public review of the CAP-CP documents under a formally managed and governed process. As such, F/P/T and industry stakeholders who have been previously engaged in the development of beta versions of the CAP-CP documents are being heavily leveraged in the current SC membership.
The CAP-CP 1.0 SC works in accordance with the Canadian Emergency Management Communications Specifications (CEMCS) Change Management Process (CMP).
The first draft of the CAP-CP 1.0 specification documents contain changes from previous beta versions. Following the completion of the drafting and public review cycles set out in the CEMCS CMP, the SC will seek approval from PS and Senior Officials Responsible for Emergency Management to publish the three specification documents to CAP-CP, Version 1.0. Any decisions on implementation of CAP-CP 1.0 in systems will fall to the various governance bodies which are responsible for each initiative.
Versions 1.0 of the Event References, Location References, and Introduction and Rule Set documents will be posted for a 30-day public review period. The draft documents will be available, and comments accepted until February 14, 2016 at 9:00PM EST at Interoperability@ps-sp.gc.ca. As per the CMP, any comments, or proposed edits, will be considered by the CAP-CP 1.0 Specification Committee and accepted, rejected or deferred.
CAP-CP is currently published as three documents:
- Introduction and Rule Set
- Event References
- Location References.
The versions of the three documents are tabled below in reverse chronological order with their current status. A "Draft" is published for public comment. In some cases, more than one version may be identified as "Current". Please note that a CAP message can support more than one version of the CAP-CP Events and Location References; and even though the latest version is considered the best version, it is up to system operators within Alerting communities to decide when to move forward and support new version(s).
CAP-CP documents managed by the former CAP-CP Working Group have been versioned as Beta documents, with a view to Version 1.0 being a product of the community that has followed a more open and formal change management process.
CAP-CP Introduction and Rule Set
|1.0||January 2016||Formalization of 1.0 Clarifications.|
|Beta 0.4A||July 2012||Formalization of Beta 0.4 Draft. Clarifications.|
|Beta 0.4||October 2010||Alignment with CAP 1.2. Corrections. Introduces more specific area reference interpretation.|
|Beta 0.3||May 2009||Initial developer ready version. Aligns with CAP 1.1.|
CAP-CP Event References
|Beta 0.5||July 2012||Corrections.|
|Beta 0.4||October 2010||Additions and corrections.|
|Beta 0.3A||January 2010||Correction if initial developer ready version.|
CAP-CP Location References
|Beta 0.4||July 2012||Align with Statistics Canada 2011 update to the 2006 Standard Geographical Classification. Corrections. Clarifications.|
|Beta 0.3B||October 2010||Align with Statistics Canada 2010 update to the 2006 Standard Geographical Classification.|
Common Alerting Protocol (CAP)
A key element to resolving most public alerting technical issues is the adoption of a common electronic messaging format. This is the role of the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP), which is an international standard of OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards).
In March 2005, at an Industry Canada hosted public alerting workshop, CAP was adopted for use in Canada.
Canadian Profile of the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP-CP)
It is important to note that CAP was developed for use throughout the world, mindful of the need for localized implementations. The Canadian Profile of CAP (CAP-CP) is one such localized implementation, and similar to CAP, the CAP-CP was developed for use throughout Canada, mindful of the need for further localization to meet specific requirements associated with a system or sub-group community of alerting stakeholders.
The Canadian Profile is technically conformant with the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP), in that a valid CAP-CP message is also a valid CAP message. Localized Canadian implementations of CAP-CP are expected to be valid CAP-CP.
CAP-CP Reference Interpretation
The Environment Canada CAP-CP weather feed has been identified as the national “reference interpretation” by the CAP-CP Working Group. When in doubt, it can be referenced for best practices.
The reasons for choosing the Environment Canada CAP-CP weather feed include a regular stream of new alerts for stakeholder review. Further, weather messages are frequently updated for changes in location, urgency, severity and certainty, presenting numerous use cases for developer's reference.
The Canadian Association for Public Alerting and Notification (CAPAN) maintains links to additional CAP-CP and alerting resources on its resource page.
Comments and suggestions are welcomed, with the understanding that they are offered freely, without any conditions, including any requirement for attribution. Please send your comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org by February 14, 2016.
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