Frequently Asked Questions

What is the University of Toronto’s alert system?

U of T’s alert system allows the university to send important messages via phone, text message and email to students, faculty and staff registered in the system. This system is only available to currently enrolled or employed students, staff and faculty. At UTM, the system can also send 'pop-up' emergency messages to all computers on campus connected to the campus network.

When will the University use the alert system?

On the rare occasion when we need to get emergency information quickly to everyone on one or more campuses, the University will use the alert system.

Do I have to pay for this?

The university does not charge you for this service. Depending on your service plan, your mobile phone carrier may charge you a fee when you receive a message. Despite this, you are strongly encouraged not to opt out, as these messages are important to your safety and security.

What is Alertus?

At UTM, Alertus is a software program that allows for emergency 'pop-up' messages to appear on campus computers, providing information and advice during a crisis.

How will I receive messages from the Alertus system?

Mock image of desktop computer with Alertus pop-up messageIn the event of an emergency, the UTM Emergency Response Team will broadcast a full-screen pop-up message on all logged-in PC and Mac computers on which the Alertus software is running.  This message will tell you what is happening and what to do next. Users can choose to close the message by clicking the Acknowledge button; the software does not erase or impact files or browser windows that were previously open.

Only on-campus computers connected to the UTOR network will receive the broadcast messages. The Alertus Desktop software is only active when the computer is powered on and logged in. This means that a computer a) in standby b) at the log-in screen c) in screen saver lockout will not display the alert until a user logs in.

How do I get Alertus on my computer?

PC computers managed by I&ITS’ Secure Managed Desktop service will have Alertus installed automatically starting the week of May 25. Computers in research labs and self-managed PCs and Macs will require manual installation of Alertus Desktop software.  If you have administrative rights on your computer, you can install the software yourself

What computer systems does it work on?

Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 with the .NET 2.0 Framework (or greater) installed, and Mac OSX 10.5+.

For questions about this software, please contact the IITS Helpdesk,, 905-828-5344 or

How do I update my contact information in the system?

Contact information already in ROSI/ACORN (for students) and HRIS (for employees) is already in the alert system. To add additional contact information, please follow these instructions. It is especially important to keep mobile phone numbers up to date:

  1. Go to, click on the 'Register/Update' button.
  2. Using your UTORid and password, login to the system.
  3. If this is your first visit to the site, please confirm the automatically populated contact information is correct.
  4. Follow the prompts to add or update contact information.
  5. On subsequent visits, you’ll use only your UTORid and password to enter the system and update your contact information.

The system is regularly updated with data from ROSI/ACORN and HRIS.
For technical assistance with, please contact

How is my personal information protected?

U of T’s messaging and alerts system is provided by Blackboard Connect Inc (BCI), which uses several layers of physical and virtual firewalls to maintain data security. No confidential information is ever transmitted by email or FTP. Data is hosted in state-of-the-art facilities that require photo identification, thumbprint recognition and keyed access. BCI also retains an external, independent security firm to perform annual security audits. Neither the university nor BCI will ever sell, trade, lease or loan your personal information to anyone else.