Town of Castor council throws support behind 911 wireless levy increase

Currently, the fee varies by province, and Alberta sits at second lowest

By Kevin J. Sabo

For the Advance

The Town of Castor council is supporting a resolution being put forward by emergency call centres around the province to increase the 911 levy on cellphone bills.

Request for support of the resolution was received from East Central 911 Call Answer Society Chairman George Glazier in a letter to member municipalities.

“Legislation already exists to collect this levy, and it is time for it to be increased,” said Glazier in the letter.

“I’m sure we all appreciate what a significant increase in these revenues would mean to funding our 911 centre and our respective municipalities bottom line as municipalities are left to pay the balance in order to provide these essential services.”

The levy, which is found in all jurisdictions of the country and varies by province, currently sits at $0.44 per capita in Alberta.

The funds raised through this levy are used to fund 911 call centres around the province, and with the federal government mandating that all centres across the country upgrade to “Next Generation 911” within the next two to three years, the extra funding is needed.

“I guess they have to operate,” said Deputy Mayor Tony Nichols.

“They need money to operate.”

The $0.44 user wireless fee has been in place in Alberta since April 1, 2014 and has not been increased since that time.

Currently, the fee varies by province, and Alberta sits at second lowest. The lowest levy in the country is Nova Scotia, at $0.43, and the highest levy is Saskatchewan which sits at $0.94.

Per the letter from Glazier, these resolutions and their support will be presented at the Alberta Urban Municipal Association and the Rural Municipality Association meetings in the coming weeks.

Once presented at these meetings, the resolutions will be passed on to the provincial government.

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