Non-emergency education and examples

9-1-1 is for police, fire, or medical emergencies when immediate action is required: someone’s health, safety or property is in jeopardy or a crime is in progress.

If you need police assistance for a non-emergency situation (for example, more than 15 minutes have passed since the incident occurred, there are no injuries, the suspects are nowhere to be seen and their location is unknown), please use your local ten-digit non-emergency numbers.

Examples of when to call 9-1-1

  • Events that involve an immediate threat to a person or property: screams, attacks, gunshots, fires, car accidents with injuries or other medical emergencies
  • A substantive, in-progress crime such as a fight, break and enter (if there is a suspect on scene) or a report of an impaired driver
  • A serious crime that has just occurred (examples: sexual assault or robbery)
  • A suspicious circumstance that may indicate an imminent criminal act (examples: prowler, vandal)

Examples of non-emergency calls

  • Reporting a crime with no suspect (example: theft of a licence plate)
  • Reporting a crime with suspect, but suspect is not on the scene (example: fraud)
  • Reporting a serious crime with suspect, but with a lengthy delay (example: assault that occurred last night at a bar)
  • Non-emergency in progress (example: noisy party)
  • On-going crime issues or crimes that are not in-progress (examples: graffiti or ongoing drug dealing with no suspect on scene)
  • A suspicious circumstance that may indicate an ongoing criminal activity (example: suspected drug lab)

See our Emergency vs. non-emergency calls brochure for more information on when to call 9-1-1. This brochure is also available in the following languages:

Take a moment to look up your local non-emergency number and keep it in a visible place close to your phone, or add it directly to your cellphone’s list of contacts.

If you need police assistance that is not of an emergency nature (for example, your situation is a valid police matter but does not require immediate attention), please use your local ten-digit non-emergency numbers. See below for more examples of non-emergency situations.

Your local non-emergency number should be used when immediate dispatch of the police IS NOT required because some time has elapsed since the incident occurred, the suspect is no longer at the scene of the crime, or if you are calling about a nuisance issue (example: graffiti).

If you are unsure if your situation is an emergency, dial 9-1-1. Emergency call takers will help determine if immediate action is required or if you should hang-up and dial the non-emergency line.

Calling 9-1-1 for a non-emergency situation ties up important lifelines meant for people or property in immediate jeopardy or when a crime is in progress. If you call 9-1-1 for a non-emergency matter, it will not result in a faster response. Emergency situations are always given priority over situations where police response is not urgent or time sensitive and emergency operators will not take non-emergency reports on 9-1-1. Please also note that 9-1-1 call takers cannot transfer your call to the non-emergency line. You will have to hang-up and dial the ten-digit non-emergency number directly. Help us keep 9-1-1 lines free for emergencies that require immediate response by looking up your local non-emergency number.