New radios to provide enhanced capabilities for Lower Mainland first responders

Vancouver, B.C. — Police officers, firefighters and paramedics in the Lower Mainland will start to use new radios in 2017 that will be more effective and durable in challenging conditions and provide greater safety features for first responders.

E-Comm—Emergency Communications for British Columbia Incorporated—has signed agreements with JVCKENWOOD Canada Inc., Motorola Solutions Canada and RELM Wireless Corporation for the provision of radio equipment to be used by first responders on a new digital P25 regional emergency communications radio system currently in development by E-Comm and its public safety partners. Among the key features: Greater reliability, water immersion resistance, radio monitoring (enabling dispatchers to remotely activate radio microphones for improved responder safety), noise-cancelling technology to reduce background sounds and allow responders to be heard more clearly in noisy environments, increased security, GPS tracking, an expanded range of accessories and the ability to add new features through software upgrades in the future.

For the first time, emergency service agencies will also have their choice of radios from multiple pre-qualified vendors, providing them with the opportunity to choose from a range of products and price points that meet their specific requirements.

“There is a tremendous benefit in having agencies choose radio equipment that uniquely suits their needs,” explains Richmond Fire Chief John McGowan, chair of the radio user working group (composed of senior representatives from police, fire and ambulance services) that is collaborating with E-Comm in overseeing the radio system replacement. “The type of radio, its specific technology features and the manner in which radios are used, can differ between police, fire and ambulance agencies.”

For example, Chief McGowan says that larger radios are more desirable for firefighters who wear bulky protective gear such as gloves and jackets. Radios also need to be extra rugged to operate in firefighting conditions (i.e. waterproof); whereas police may prefer smaller, lighter radios that have longer battery life during extended events. “Being able to choose customized options means first responders are getting the best tools to do their jobs,” Chief McGowan adds.

The planned replacement of E-Comm’s radio system—known as the Next Generation Radio Program—is a multi-year initiative to replace the entire regional radio network currently used by all police departments and BC Emergency Health Services in Metro Vancouver and Abbotsford, in addition to 12 fire departments in Metro Vancouver. The new network will be based on digital radio technology known as Project 25 (P25) in the 700 MHz band, an open standard that public-safety agencies across North America have widely adopted and that has been endorsed by the Lower Mainland emergency services community.

E-Comm President and CEO David Guscott echoed Chief McGowan’s comments about the benefit of providing agencies with options for radios. “What it all comes down to is what’s best for the public safety community—helping first responders to be able to provide the highest level of service by ensuring they have the right radios at their disposal. I’m pleased to have such a wide variety of options available for our partners.”

Master Standing Offer agreements with JVCKENWOOD Canada Inc., Motorola Solutions Canada and RELM Wireless Corporation were signed following a Request for Proposal from pre-qualified vendors earlier in the year. Leading up to the signed agreements, a comprehensive technical evaluation of proposals and series of conformance tests were undertaken to ensure radios met the technical requirements of operating on the new P25 network. Selection of vendors occurred following evaluation and due-diligence assessment of proposals using a rigorous methodology incorporating independent external oversight.
The new radio network is scheduled to be fully rolled out across Metro Vancouver and Abbotsford by early 2018.


Vendor Quotes

“JVCKENWOOD has a long established history of providing industry leading communication solutions to numerous federal, provincial and local government agencies in Canada and is pleased to be an approved radio equipment vendor for E-Comm. We look forward to providing a full suite of subscriber radio solutions to police, fire and ambulance agencies that are part of the E-Comm radio system.” Wilf Mulder, National Sales Manager – Professional Systems Division

“Motorola Solutions is dedicated to providing E-Comm and its member agencies with interoperable APXTM P25 radios and equipment designed for their mission-critical communication needs. Our broad suite of solutions provides a variety of rugged features and options built to help keep British Columbia first responders and the people they protect safe for years to come.” George Krausz, President – Motorola Solutions Canada

“E-Comm is one of the largest and most respected public safety organizations in Canada. We are very excited about our new relationship with E-Comm and look forward to making it a mutual success for both organizations. Our goal is to provide great service to first responders in B.C. and to the rest of Canada.” David Storey, RELM President and Chief Executive Officer

About E-Comm
E-Comm operates the largest multi-jurisdictional, tri-service emergency radio system in the province and is the largest 9-1-1 call centre in British Columbia, handling approximately 1.35 million emergency calls per year for Metro Vancouver and 24 other regional districts and communities spanning from Vancouver Island to Alberta and from the U.S. border, to north of Prince George. E-Comm also provides call-taking and dispatch services to 35 police and fire departments in southwest B.C. For more information visit


Media Contacts:

E-Comm 9-1-1
Jody Robertson
[email protected]

Thomas Kingston
[email protected]

Motorola Solutions, Inc.
Chantal Montsion
[email protected]

RELM Wireless Corporation
Tim Vitou
[email protected]