Central Vancouver Island and Upper Fraser Valley to partner with E-Comm

Photo of the Fraser Valley
E-Comm to become the first point of contact for communities in the Central Island and Upper Fraser Valley regions.
Photo: iStock.com/JoeRos

E-Comm’s 9-1-1 call-answer services will once again be expanding over the next several months, with Primary Public Safety Answer Point (PSAP) service for central Vancouver Island and the upper Fraser Valley moving to E-Comm in November and January. When the two transitions are complete, E-Comm will be the Primary PSAP for 88% of the province’s 9-1-1 call volume, up from the current 80%.

On November 17, the City of Nanaimo and Regional Districts of Nanaimo and Cowichan Valley will transfer 9-1-1 call-answer services to E-Comm, followed on January 19 by the Fraser Valley Regional District, which will transition Chilliwack Primary PSAP services for the City of Chilliwack, Village of Harrison Hot Springs, Districts of Mission, Kent and Hope, and Electoral Areas A-H.

9-1-1 Service Expansion Flow chart

 Preparations for both transitions are well underway, including development of a comprehensive project plan outlining all of the various technical and operational requirements necessary for seamless changeovers. The project plan includes a training program to familiarize staff with the geography of the new service areas.

“E-Comm provides the best option for the Central Island 9-1-1 partnership both technically and operationally, particularly as the overall 9-1-1 system in Canada evolves in the future.”

Mike Dietrich, Manager,
Nanaimo Police Support Services

In announcing the move, Nanaimo’s manager of Police Support Services, Mike Dietrich, commented on the rigorous process the City of Nanaimo and Regional Districts of Nanaimo and Cowichan Valley undertook when evaluating the Primary PSAP portion of the Central Island’s 9-1-1 services.

“The independent study concluded that E-Comm has the ability to handle large spikes in incoming 9-1-1 call volume due to the size of the centre and its staffing model,” Dietrich said. “Combined with its built-in redundancies, we agree that E-Comm provides the best option for the Central Island 9-1-1 partnership both technically and operationally, particularly as the overall 9-1-1 system in Canada evolves in the future.”

map of E-Comm's service area

For residents in the two regions, the change will be seamless. For the Central Island, police calls will be answered by E-Comm and transferred to the RCMP at their North Island dispatch centre in Courtenay, fire calls will continue to go to Nanaimo, and ambulance calls will be routed to BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) in Victoria. For callers in Mission and the Upper Fraser Valley, E-Comm will transfer police and fire calls to Chilliwack RCMP and fire dispatch centres, and ambulance calls to BCEHS in Vancouver.

E-Comm CEO David Guscott said consolidation offers many benefits, including shared staffing and technology costs which result in economies of scale and increased operational effectiveness for all. “We are very pleased with our new public safety partnerships and are committed to ensuring residents in all our service areas continue to receive high-quality, responsive services 24 hours a day.”