New area codes will be introduced gradually in the following regions.
Important Information About 10-Digit Dialing
The introduction of a new area code in a region will require 10-digit dialing for all local calls. For each phone number, you must dial the area code before the phone number for your call to be connected. This requirement is the result of a decision by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and will enable 9-8-8 dialing and texting for mental health crisis and suicide prevention coming into effect in Canada in Nov 2023.
Callers in Newfoundland and Labrador (709 area code), northern Ontario (807 area code), and Yellowknife, (including Dettah), Behchokǫ̀ and Whatì (867 area code), need to adopt 10-digit dialing starting April 1, 2023. Between April 1 and May 31, 2023, any calls placed using 7-digit dialing will still be connected, however an automated message will play reminding the caller to use 10-digit dialing for local calls. After May 31, 2023, calls placed using 7-digit dialing will not be connected.
On April 1, 2023, residents and businesses may begin reprogramming their telephone functions, wireless devices, lifeline equipment and other communications equipment by adding their area code to all programmed numbers in order to accommodate 10-digit local dialing. Reprogramming must be completed by May 31, 2023.
10-Digit Dialing FAQs
Who is responsible for the introduction of 10-digit dialing?
- In Telecom Decision https://crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2022/2022-234.htm dated, August 31, 2022, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) directs the transition to ten-digit local dialing by 31 May 2023). These measures are the result of that decision by the CRTC. Local telecommunications companies are responsible for implementing the changes.
What is 10-digit local dialing?
- 10-digit local dialing means that the caller must dial the area code (three digits) followed by the phone number (seven digits) for all local communications.
What regions are affected by 10-digit local dialing?
- The regions that will be transitioning to 10-digit dialing are:
- Newfoundland & Labrador (709 area code)
- Northern Ontario (807 area code)
- Yellowknife Local Interconnection Region (NPA 867 but limited to the three Exchanges of Yellowknife (including Dettah), Behchokǫ̀, and Whatì
- Local 10-digit dialing is already used in all other regions in Canada.
When should residents and businesses start using the area code in local calls?
- Businesses and residential customers will need to adopt 10-digit dialing starting April 1, 2023.
How should businesses and the general public prepare for the change to 10-digit dialing?
- Businesses – and, to a lesser extent, the general public – have steps to take before 10-digit dialing is introduced. They must ensure their telecommunications systems and equipment comply with 10-digit local dialing, and reprogram telephone functions, wireless devices, lifeline equipment and other communications equipment by adding their area code to all programmed numbers. They should also change their advertising and stationery and update their employee, client, supplier and other databases.
- Businesses and residents may begin reprogramming their equipment starting April 1, 2023 in order to accommodate 10-digit local dialing. Reprogramming must be completed by May 31, 2023.
What will happen if residents and businesses dial a seven-digit number after April 1, 2023?
- Between April 1, 2023 and May 31, 2023, local calls originating within NL & Labrador, northern Ontario and the three Exchanges of Yellowknife, Behchokǫ̀, and Whatì that are dialed using only 7 digits will receive a recorded announcement reminding callers to dial local calls using 10 digits. Calls will then be automatically completed. The recorded messages may prevent local data calls dialed using only 7 digits from being completed and may disrupt data transmission (Internet, faxes, etc) therefore the quick adoption of 10-digit dialing is very important.
- Starting May 31, 2023, all local calls will have to be preceded by the area code, otherwise they will not be connected.
Why must 10-digit dialing be used for local calls?
- This dialing method will pave the way for the introduction of a new 3-digits special number 9-8-8 for mental health and suicide prevention.
How should a telephone number be written?
- When written or printed, the 10-digit telephone number should be visually separated by dashes, spaces, or periods in accordance with international standards (e.g., 709 123-4567 or 709-123-4567). The area code should not appear in parentheses since this may lead the caller to believe the area code is optional.
Can people continue to dial 9-1-1 in case of emergency?
- Yes. The 9-1-1 emergency number, where available, will not change in any way and will still require only three digits.
If someone accidentally dials “1” before the 10-digit phone number when making a local call, will long-distance charges apply?
- No. The call will be recognized as a local call, and the caller will hear a network announcement to that effect before the call is connected.
Will long-distance calls be affected?
- Long-distance calls will continue to be made in the same manner. Simply enter “1” followed by the 10-digit number.