Watching the wait time on the screen in Peel’s 9-1-1 call centre climb to more than seven minutes was stressful enough. That was only the first of the pressures I came to learn about on my recent tour of Peel Regional Police’s communications hub.

Can you imagine waiting several minutes to get through to 9-1-1 in an emergency? Some of you don’t have to imagine… you’ve told me it has happened to you. Thankfully, that isn’t the norm. The average wait time in Peel is 77 seconds – still a long way away from the target they’d like to achieve. But, when call volumes spike, the number of people taking the calls remains the same, and delays can occur.

That’s why I’m pleased to share our Council is hiring more Call Takers to help bring those wait times down and improve service in the most desperate of situations.

As part of my tour, I made sure to request information that can be shared to help educate the public on what happens inside the 9-1-1 call centre. The following is provided by Peel Regional Police:

9-1-1 Communications Centre Overview

Peel Regional Police’s (PRP) Communication Centre is responsible for the in-take of calls for police, ambulance and fire services in Brampton and Mississauga. All paramedics and fire calls are screened through the PRP Communication Centre before they are connected to the appropriate emergency service. As a result, we are considered to operate what is known as a Primary Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). We are one of the largest PSAP’s in Canada.

In 2022, there was a 30% increase of 9-1-1 calls, which has been the most significant increase in call volumes to date. On average, PRP receives 1,800 calls a day, and close to 40 per cent are non-legitimate calls (misuse and hang- ups). All hang-ups require a call back from a Call Taker.

Call Takers are also responsible for responding to non-emergency calls when there are no 9-1-1 calls in the queue.

In 2022, the average wait time for a 9-1-1 call was 77 seconds, with the longest wait time recorded at 19.22 minutes. PRP is committed to addressing this issue and to develop a communication centre action plan called Pathway 2025. The three-year plan looks to address current challenges and lay the foundation for future growth through innovation and investments into our organization, people and data. This will help improve service delivery and better support Call Takers to foster workforce retention. It also looks at implementing efficiencies through process and technology such as separation of 9-1-1 queues and triaging calls between police and other emergency response agencies.

In December, PRP hired 21 new Call Takers who are currently in training; and we will be onboarding another 24 Call Takers in April. The goal is to get as close as possible to the National Emergency Numbers Association standard of 90 per cent of calls answered within 15 seconds.

Through the acquisition of a new facility, the communication centre will relocate into a larger space with further capacity to develop and increase resources to better respond to regional growth. Note that concern with wait times is not unique to Peel Region and many regions and police services across the province are managing similar challenges.

You Can Help Reduce Wait Times

As PRP works towards shortened wait times for 9-1-1 calls, here are things that the public can do to assist:

  •  Stay on the line until the 9-1-1 call is answered. Avoid hanging up and calling back again as that will require a Call Taker to follow-up on any hang ups.
  •  If you accidentally call 9-1-1, stay on the line and tell the Call Taker that it was an error; this will save time on calling you back.
  •  Only call 9-1-1 under the following circumstances:
    •  Your life or someone’s life is in danger
    •  Witnessing a crime in progress
  •  Call the non-emergency line at 905-453-3311 to report incidents that are not in progress and no one’s life is in danger, i.e. become aware that a vehicle has been stolen. You can also file reports online, please visit to learn more about online reporting options.
  •  For vehicle collisions, please go to a collision centre to file a report if no one has been injured.

PRP’s Call Takers take extreme pride in the work that they do, often working through mealtimes and breaks in order to help the public as much as possible. They are committed to providing excellence in service and ensuring they can connect people in crisis with the help that they need in the most expedient way