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Safety & Security

Helping emergency services find you when you need them most

Graphic of a location point and an emergency services icon.

When emergency services get a call, they need to know the caller’s location to send help. The more accurate the location information, the better. That’s why we’re thrilled to announce that Android Emergency Location Service (ELS) is now available for all Android users in Canada.

ELS is designed to automatically, securely and privately send device-based location information from your mobile phone to emergency services operators when you call 9-1-1, where 9-1-1 is available. An accurate and fast emergency location can help reduce response times and in some cases make the difference between life and death.

The challenge

More than 80 percent of emergency calls come from mobile phones, but locating these phones can be challenging as traditional emergency location technologies can fail indoors or have a search area that’s too big to be useful.

To help address this issue, we created Android Emergency Location Service (ELS), which is now active in Canada thanks to an initiative supported by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) Emergency Services Working Group (ESWG) and its designated partners Bell Canada, TELUS Communications Inc. (TCI).

The solution

Emergency Location Service (ELS) is a feature on Android phones designed to help emergency services locate you quickly and accurately when you call emergency numbers. ELS uses a combination of the location technologies available to apps on your phone, including Wi-Fi, GPS, and cell towers, to produce a more reliable and accurate emergency location both indoors and outdoors.

The feature is solely for the use of emergency service providers, and your precise location is never seen or handled by Google. It is sent from your handset to emergency services only when you explicitly place an emergency call.

How ELS works in Canada

  • Android ELS activates only when 9-1-1 is dialed. No special hardware or apps are necessary for the caller or for public safety answering points (PSAPs) and first responders.
  • It calculates a precise location on the caller's device and securely and privately transmits the information to emergency services partners.
  • Android ELS is now available on over 99.9% of Android phones (version 5 or newer) in use in Canada.
  • It functions across all Canadian provinces and territories where 9-1-1 is available, regardless of your mobile provider.
  • ELS data is provided directly to E9-1-1 and NG9-1-1 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAP) via their existing 9-1-1 infrastructure, with no changes required.
  • In areas where 9-1-1 call location information is not directly shared by telecommunications companies, such as Newfoundland & Labrador and the Northwest Territories, Google partnered with RapidSOS to make this location data available to Emergency Service Providers.

Our commitment to Canadians

Our commitment has always been to build products and services that are helpful for Canadians.

If you're an Android user in Canada, we're grateful that we can now help emergency services find you when you need them most.