Public Safety Broadband Network

A Public Safety Broadband Network (PSBN) is a secure high-speed wireless data communications network. It can be used by emergency responders and public safety personnel to communicate with each other in emergency situations and during day-to-day operations, and holds the potential to improve the effectiveness and safety of first responders and the public safety community.

New technologies making use of a PSBN offer the potential to improve the safety and security of Canadians, including through improved communications infrastructure for first responders and governments.

In 2017-2018, the Government of Canada, through a Federal PSBN Task Team, consulted provincial, territorial, and municipal governments, first responders, the private sector, and various other stakeholders on implementation models for a PSBN in Canada.

This Task Team was comprised of representatives from Public Safety Canada, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), and Defence Research and Development Canada’s Centre for Security Science (DRDC CSS) to advance work on this file.

Consultation

The PSBN Task Team undertook a series of one-day stakeholder engagement workshops in six cities across the country, as well as one online engagement session. More than 200 stakeholders participated in these workshops. In addition, five full-day and four half-day user requirements sessions were held with approximately 135 first responders. All sessions took place between September 2017 and March 2018. Participants included provinces and territories, municipal governments, first responders, industry, critical infrastructure operators, representatives from small and remote communities, Indigenous community representatives and academia.

Additionally, a Request for Information targeting the private sector was launched by ISED in November 2017 and closed in January 2018, the results of which will contribute to the evidence-base for a potential PSBN for Canada.

Some of the most frequently discussed challenges facing current emergency communications, included: coordination of a potential PSBN; coverage in rural, remote and Northern areas; costs and potential implementation timelines; interoperability between Canada and the United States; capacity in small communities and volunteer organizations; and the relationship between a potential PSBN and existing land mobile radio networks.

The results of this consultation will be compiled and published in a summary to be posted on the Consulting with Canadians webpage.  

Temporary National Coordination Office

Federal, Provincial and Territorial (FPT) Ministers responsible for emergency management met in May 2018, to discuss joint Canadian priorities and the progress made to date. To strengthen emergency preparedness communications in Canada, Ministers endorsed guiding considerations for the potential development of a PSBN across the country.

Acknowledging the benefits of a PSBN in Canada, Ministers also supported the establishment of a Temporary National Coordination Office in partnership with federal and provincial/territorial officials.   

The office is jointly staffed by federal and provincial/territorial officials, tri-service representatives, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, and other potential PSBN users, and became operational in summer 2018.

On June 28, 2019, the TNCO published a Progress Report on a National Public Safety Broadband Network to share information with stakeholders on the work accomplished to date towards a potential PSBN for Canada. The TNCO wants to ensure that the recommended approach will meet the needs of the public safety community and is supported by research, analysis and stakeholder engagement.

The Temporary National Coordination Office will seek to finalize national recommendations for PSBN requirements, and undertake analysis to develop options for a more permanent coordination structure to guide this work going forward.

The TNCO will submit a Policy Paper to FPT ministers responsible for emergency management in early 2020.

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