December 7, 2023
7 December 2023
As he drove to Hamilton in a snowstorm, a driver noticed that the French version of the government’s emergency weather alerts broadcast on the radio were garbled and unintelligible.
As he drove to Hamilton in a snowstorm, a driver noticed that the French version of the government’s emergency weather alerts broadcast on the radio were garbled and unintelligible. The three alerts advised the public to shelter in place and warned that emergency personnel would be unable to help people trapped in their cars by the snowstorm. We brought this issue to the attention of Emergency Management Ontario (EMO). EMO stated that the operator had not properly changed the system language for the second alert, which was supposed to be in French. As a result, both the English and French versions of the message were read by the system in English, resulting in the French alert being unintelligible.
RESULT: As a result of our intervention, EMO added another step to the daily alert system tests to ensure that the correct language is selected in the system prior to broadcasting. EMO also included a reminder in its operator training about how language selection works.
Learn more about the French Language Services Unit which answers questions and takes complaints about services in French.
Read about how we helped other people in our Selected cases.