If You Use Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Telephone Your Enhanced 911 May Be Limited

Media Release

Friday, May 5th, 2017

If You Use Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Telephone Your Enhanced 911 May Be Limited

The City of Kawartha Lakes Police Service currently operates the 911 call Centre for the City of Kawartha Lakes. All 911 calls in the City come into the call centre and are redirected to the appropriate Police, Fire or Ambulance service. The system has enhanced capabilities when accessed through a traditional land line telephone, which includes the ability to pinpoint the address from which the 911 call originated from. It is important that users of VoIP phones recognize that this enhanced capability may be limited by their internet based telephone

VoIP allows users to make and receive telephone calls using an internet connection. Although such technology offers convenience, it also has some limitations. For instance, unlike the traditional landline telephone, when calling 9-1-1 using a VoIP connection:


  • VoIP third party operators may send a request for emergency service to the wrong 9-1-1 Centre or a non-emergency line causing a potential delay in response.
  • If the caller is unable to speak, or if the call is disconnected, the operator may not have automatic location information to give to 9-1-1 call-takers,
  • Access to 9-1-1 service for VoIP customers may not be available during a power failure or if the internet connection is disrupted,
  • VoIP services do not have to enlist the use of a Language Line interpretation service as is currently used by the Barrie Police Service,
  • If the consumer moves and retains the VoIP service, they must ensure their address information is updated with their VoIP service provider


If you accidently call 9-1-1 stay on the line, advise the call-taker you made a mistake. If you hang up, our 9-1-1 operators will call back to ensure your well-being.

When looking at moving to a VoIP telephone service consumers should ask the provider if it offers 9-1-1 as the type of VoIP service determines the type of 9-1-1 service available to emergency callers using VoIP services. There are two types of VoIP service as listed below:

Fixed VoIP service

With Fixed VoIP service, calls can only be made from a fixed address. A Fixed VoIP service is normally provided over a private communication network (such as your cable service provider at home) instead of over the Internet. Fixed VoIP service provides Enhanced 9-1-1 service equivalent to that provided by traditional wireline service, except where Basic 9-1-1 is provided.

Nomadic VoIP service

Nomadic VoIP service is provided over the Internet and lets callers access telephone services using any high-speed Internet connection from any location.

Nomadic VoIP service provides Basic 9-1-1 service because there is no fixed address to provide to 9-1-1 operators. The mobility of this service makes it very hard for both service providers and 9-1-1 operators to pinpoint the location of a 9-1-1 call.

More information on VoIP can be accessed at http://crtc.gc.ca/eng/phone/911/can.htm .