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Mediated discussions between E-Comm and CUPE 873-02 remain in progress at Labour Relations Board

Vancouver, B.C.—Today CUPE 873-02 announced that talks between E-Comm and the Union that represents its bargaining unit employees had broken down. However, E-Comm can confirm that Mediator Trevor Sones has not booked out and we are still in mediation at the Labour Relations Board (LRB). Further, E-Comm has expressed a desire to continue bargaining and will certainly make itself available once the Union indicates it is available to come to the table.

E-Comm’s goal is to reach an agreement that is fair and reasonable and hopes that CUPE 873-02 will agree to keep talking with the assistance of the LRB.

Due to the critical nature of the services we provide, E-Comm will be designated an “essential service” employer. As such, and as a precautionary measure, E-Comm will work with the LRB to ensure that essential bargaining unit work continues to be performed to limit any impact on public safety services should CUPE 873-02 choose to take a strike vote and subsequent job action.

“The Union’s statements regarding the employer are meant to pressure us to bargain in public,’” said E-Comm CEO Oliver Grüter-Andrew. “We’d rather talk at the table and work together to address our staffing challenges and the many opportunities to advance public safety collaboratively.”

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NOTE for media: We invite the media to review our contracted 9-1-1 service level results that are posted monthly on www.ecomm911.ca. Information on non-emergency wait times is also available on our website.  

About E-Comm
E-Comm is the first point of contact for 9-1-1 callers in 25 regional districts in British Columbia and provides dispatch services for more than 70 police agencies and fire departments. E‐Comm also owns and operates the largest multi‐jurisdictional, tri‐service wide‐area radio network in the province used by police, fire and ambulance personnel throughout Metro Vancouver and parts of the Fraser Valley. In 2018, E-Comm handled nearly 1.6 million 9-1-1 calls in B.C.

Media contact:
Jasmine Bradley
E-Comm Media Relations
604-215-5023

Update on Non-Emergency Call Wait Times

Updated November 8, 2019 to reflect up-to-date call statistics.

Police non-emergency lines are an important part of the community and the work of police agencies. As the dispatch partner of more than 30 police departments in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island (Police Dispatch Partners), we know that non-emergency wait times are too long at certain points of the day and we are working diligently to shorten them. We want to thank residents for your patience and to apologize to anyone who has had to wait for an inordinate amount of time to speak with one of our hardworking call takers, who are on duty 24/7.

Since January 1, 2019, E-Comm has answered 73% of the 586,964 non-emergency calls we received in five minutes or less[1]. However, we know there are too many other callers being on hold for significantly longer.

What are the reasons for longer wait times?

We place answering emergency calls as our top priority. As a result, non-emergency callers can experience longer wait times when our cross-trained staff are prioritizing calls in which life/safety is in jeopardy or a crime is in progress.  We continue to answer incoming 9-1-1 calls quickly and efficiently (9-1-1 Call Volumes and Service Levels).

While we can’t promise to eliminate wait times altogether, we can do more to shorten the time it takes to speak with our call takers. And we are.

We’re recruiting more call takers (Join Our Team) to help with call volumes and we’re working on new processes to enhance non-emergency call-answer service.  Our goal is to answer more of the calls we receive faster and to provide the most responsive service we can for our police partners and for you.

The public can help us help through the following tips:

  • If you have an emergency in which immediate action is required—life/property is in jeopardy or there is a crime in progress—call 9-1-1.

  • If you are experiencing a lengthy delay on the non-emergency line (Find Your Local Non- Emergency Number), do not call 9-1-1 unless your matter has escalated to a serious situation in which immediate action is required or there is a crime in progress. You can learn more about the difference between emergency and non-emergency calls by visiting nonemergency.ca.
  • Non-emergency lines tend to experience the highest call volumes during traditional business hours (e.g. 9am-5pm) and especially during late afternoon rush hour. If possible, report your non-emergency police matter during off-peak hours to limit your wait time (early morning and evening tend to be less busy).
  • If you call the non-emergency line and receive a recorded announcement advising all call takers are busy, remaining on the line will ensure your place in the queue is maintained. If you cannot wait and choose to hang up, please do not call back right away. Try calling later during off peak hours.
  • Use other sources to find information/resolve issues that are not typical police matters, such as road conditions and closures, power outages, weather and local services.  We receive many calls that are better directed to agencies other than the police and using alternate community services does help keep non-emergency lines free for police matters.
  • Visit here to learn more: nonemergency.ca

In the meantime, if you would like to speak directly to us about a service concern, we want to hear from you. You can reach out to us through the contact tab on our homepage or by emailing talktoecomm@ecomm911.ca.

We wish to thank the community, our partners and our staff for their support and patience as we work to shorten non-emergency wait times.


[1] As of October 31, 2019 – Total all E-Comm Police Dispatch Partners

Back to School Campaign 2019

Knowing how to properly call for help in an emergency could be the difference between life and death. That’s why E-Comm is urging parents to take some time during this back-to-school season to teach children about dialing 9-1-1.

To help spread this awareness, we have created a series of videos with our call takers and their children highlighting the top five tips for teaching kids 9-1-1 best practices. These videos will be shared across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram every Tuesday throughout the month of September.

A selection of free education materials can be found on our website that can help make teaching kids about 9-1-1 easier. They are available in nine different languages.

E-Comm has also issued a news release detailing these tips, which you can read here.

How to dial 9-1-1 could be the most important lesson this school year

With children back to school, B.C.’s largest 9-1-1 centre wants to make sure they are properly prepared to call 9-1-1 in an emergency

Vancouver, B.C. – Children as young as four years old are being given personal mobile devices, potentially leaving many parents with a false sense of security in the capabilities of these phones in young hands. Because kids navigate apps and screens independently and with so much ease, it’s easy to overlook teaching 9-1-1 basics, which are essential to make cellphones an effective tool in an emergency situation.

E-Comm is urging parents to take some time during back-to-school preparations to also teach children about dialing 9-1-1 from their phones – it’s a lesson that could save lives.

“As a 9-1-1 call taker and a mom, it really scares me to think that parents might be relying on their kids’ cellphones to keep them safe instead of talking to them about how to dial for help in an emergency,” says E-Comm call taker and mother of two, Heather Andrews. “A couple of years ago, I spoke with my son’s grade one class and, honestly, a lot of them understood the basics better than most adults. It’s all about keeping things simple and relatable.”

Andrews adds that most parents assume that providing a cellphone to their child will pinpoint their location information but “unlike landlines, a cellphone won’t provide anyone’s exact location to 9-1-1 call takers and it can slow down the process of getting a caller help if they can’t tell where they are.”

To help parents and caretakers teach kids about 9-1-1, E-Comm has the following tips:

  1. Explain to kids when to call 9-1-1 in simple words that are easy to understand.
    • If they or someone else are “really sick or hurt”
    • If they “smell / see smoke or fire”
    • If they feel in danger or “see someone doing something very bad like stealing or hurting someone”
  2. Teach kids their address (including apartment numbers and building entry codes) and keep that information close to all phones. Practise looking for street signs and having them be able to identify their location when they aren’t at home.
  3. Show kids how to dial 9-1-1 from all landlines and cellphones they might have access to as dialing can be different depending on the device.
  4. Explain that the 9-1-1 call taker will ask questions about where they are located / what’s happening and they should listen carefully and answer as best as they can.
  5. Try role-playing a mock emergency situation. This helps kids understand what to do and when to call when faced with a real life situation. It’s important to note that even cellphones with no service can still dial 9-1-1, so it’s best to role play without the use of a physical phone.

“Calling 9-1-1 can be stressful as an adult let alone as a child – and it’s even scarier if you don’t know what to expect. It is so important to regularly talk to your child about the process of dialing 9-1-1 so that if an emergency does happen we can get them the help they need quickly,” says Corporate Communications Manager Jasmine Bradley. “A strong understanding of emergency preparedness and the 9-1-1 system can be vitally important for life and death situations. That’s why we focus heavily on offering tools for parents and educators to help make that learning process easier.”

Over the month of September, E-Comm 9-1-1 call takers are sharing tips for speaking to kids about 9-1-1 in short videos across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Parents, caregivers, teachers and children of all ages can also visit ecomm911.ca to download free 9-1-1 education materials, available in nine languages.

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Photo/Interview Opportunity 
E-Comm invites the media to its Lower Mainland Emergency Communications Centre at 3301 East Pender Street on Monday, September 9 for interview opportunities with E-Comm call taker Heather Andrews and Jasmine Bradley, manager of Corporate Communications.

Please confirm your attendance in advance by emailing corpcomm@ecomm911.ca.  

Note: Photo identification is required to enter the E-Comm building. Photos and video in the Emergency Communications Centre is permitted under specific conditions.

About E-Comm
E-Comm is the first point of contact for 9-1-1 callers in 25 regional districts in British Columbia and provides dispatch services for more than 70 police agencies and fire departments. E‐Comm also owns and operates the largest multi‐jurisdictional, tri‐service wide‐area radio network in the province used by police, fire and ambulance personnel throughout Metro Vancouver and parts of the Fraser Valley. In 2018, E-Comm handled nearly 1.6 million 9-1-1 calls in B.C.

Media contact:
Kaila Butler
Communications Coordinator
604-626-9140
kaila.butler@ecomm911.ca

Summer 2019 edition of e-communiqué, E-comm’s quarterly newsletter, now available

We have published the summer 2019 edition of e-communiqué, E-Comm’s quarterly newsletter.

Visit the publications section of our website to read the newsletter.

In this edition, you’ll find stories about:

  • E-Comm’s new strategic plan, focused on resiliency and innovation
  • The 2019 Annual General Meeting and 2019-2020 board members announcement
  • Changes to the B.C. Government’s Mental Disorder Presumption Regulation that grant easier access for E-Comm call takers and dispatchers to worker’s compensation for mental health reasons
  • E-Comm’s 20th anniversary: celebrating 20 years of helping to save lives and protect property
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