How 9-1-1 works

E-Comm is where your 9-1-1 call comes if you live in Metro Vancouver and 25 other regional districts and communities spanning from Vancouver Island to the Alberta borders and U.S. borders to north of Prince George. E-Comm also provides emergency dispatch services for 36 police agencies and fire departments throughout southwest British Columbia.

The 9-1-1 service is contracted to E-Comm by regional districts, which fund the service through property taxes and other methods such as call-answer levies. E-Comm is responsible for answering 92% of 9-1-1 calls made throughout the province of B.C. and provides this 9-1-1 call-answer service within the areas of:

Alberni-Clayoquot Fraser-Fort George Peace River Regional District
Bulkley-Nechako Fraser Valley Powell River
Cariboo Regional District Kitimat-Stikine Squamish
Central Kootenay (excludes Nelson) Kootenay-Boundary Squamish-Lillooet
Central Okanagan Metro Vancouver Strathcona
Columbia-Shuswap Mount Waddington Sunshine Coast Regional District
Comox Valley Nanaimo Thompson-Nicola
Cowichan North Okanagan Whistler
East Kootenay Okanagan-Similkameen  

Click to see the 9-1-1 service areas map.


When a caller dials 9-1-1, the E-Comm call-taker asks, "do you need police, fire or ambulance?" The call-taker will also confirm for which municipality. E-Comm's job is to then connect the caller as quickly as possible to the agency the caller has requested. The E-Comm call-taker will remain on the line with the caller until the agency answers. The entire process typically takes approximately 25 seconds.

If a caller is unsure of what service they need, the E-Comm 9-1-1 call-taker is trained to ask a few brief questions to help determine which agency is required and will connect the caller accordingly. Once connected to the agency, the dispatcher can, at any time, also contact other agencies to assist with response. For example, if the BC Emergency Health Services receives a call where police presence is required, they will contact the appropriate department/detachment for assistance.


For more information about how 9-1-1 works, read our 9-1-1 FAQ sheet.

The E-Comm advantage:

  • Largest 9-1-1 call centre in Canada
  • Large workforce for better staff coverage during major and extended events
  • Experienced 9-1-1 call-taking and dispatch staff
  • Answers 95% of 9-1-1 calls on the first ring (less than 5 seconds) on an annual basis
  • Develops, implements and upgrades 9-1-1 technology to provide reliable and consistent call-answering
  • Electronic transmission of vital incident information to emergency responders
  • Economies of scale through shared resources and infrastructure
  • The call centre is located in a post-disaster facility
  • The system has many levels of redundancy

Click on the diagram below to learn more about 9-1-1.

Please use 9-1-1 responsibly. Check out our tips section to learn more.

E-Comm can accept 9-1-1 calls from the Deaf/Deaf-Blind, Hard-of-Hearing and Speech Impaired through Text with 9-1-1, a special text-messaging service for pre-registered users. Visit our Text with 9-1-1 page for more information. If you are Deaf/Deaf Blind, Hard-of-Hearing or Speech Impaired register and learn more here:

9-1-1 Calls Statistics

back to top