Area code 867

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Map of Canada with area code 867 in Orange/Red.

Area code 867, the area code for the three Canadian territories in the Arctic far north, was created on October 21, 1997, from portions of area codes 403 and 819. It is the least populated mainland North American area code, serving only about 100,000 people, but is the geographically largest (with Alaska's area code 907 a distant second). It is adjacent to Greenland, Russia (across the North Pole) and eight provinces or states (Alaska, Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Quebec), more jurisdictions than any other area code in North America. And it's one of four Canadian area codes yet to be overlaid, the others being 506, 709, and 807 for which 7-digit dialling is still used.

The incumbent local exchange carrier in 867 is Northwestel, a subsidiary of BCE. Until 1964, the geographic area now served by 867 did have up to five independent telephone companies, plus Bell Canada.[citation needed]


The +1-867 area code is the most expensive geographic calling area in Canada.[1] Iristel (the one major CLEC in the region) bills its subscribers in other area codes a 15¢/minute premium to call 1-867 numbers and charges a $20/year premium to issue a 1-867 number in-region instead of assigning the same subscriber any other Canadian area code.[2]

The digits were chosen to promote the theme "TOP of the world", as 867 spells TOP on a standard North American keypad. It has the largest land area of any area code in the North American Numbering Plan. The territorial extent reaches 3,173 km from Cape Dyer on Baffin Island to the Alaska border, and 4,391 km from the south end of James Bay to the North Pole. The largest distances between exchanges are 2,200 km from Sanikiluaq to Grise Fiord, and 3,365 km from Beaver Creek to Pangnirtung. Four different official time zones are observed within the area.


Originally, the Yukon Territory and the western portion of the Northwest Territories were covered by Alberta's area code 403, and served by a number of local companies that were eventually merged into Canadian National Telecommunications, a subsidiary of the Canadian National Railway. CNT became Northwestel in 1979.

The eastern Northwest Territories were among the last areas of North America without telephone service. When area codes were instituted in 1947, this region was nominally part of western Quebec's area code 514. In 1957, these non-diallable areas were nominally shifted to eastern Quebec's area code 418. Bell Canada introduced telephone service in the eastern NWT in 1958. As direct distance dialing was rolled out in this area in the 1970s, the eastern NWT, along with a large swath of northwestern Quebec, was shifted to western Quebec's area code 819. Bell Canada sold its northern service territory to Northwestel in 1992.

Prior to the creation of 867, 403 and 819 were geographically the largest area codes in the North American Numbering Plan. 403 spanned more than one-ninth of the planet's circumference, while 819 spanned one-eighth.

Since the creation of 867, Nunavut has taken over all of the former 819 portion of the Northwest Territories, plus part of the old 403 portion. Area code 403 (Alberta) has since been further split to create 780 for the northern two-thirds of Alberta, including Edmonton.

All existing prefixes stayed the same with the change to 867, with one exception: 979 at Inuvik (coming from old area 403) was replaced by 867-777 because of a conflict with 979 at Iqaluit (coming from old area 819).

Evolution of area codes in northern territories

Northwestel's proposal for a new regulatory regime was approved for 2007, allowing resale of local telephone service, but no competitors entered the market to avail themselves of the resale option. In 2011, facilities-based local service competition was approved by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), so additional central office codes are now required for competitive carriers wishing to offer local service. The expense of deployment is limiting deployment so far to Whitehorse, Yellowknife, Inuvik, Behchoko, Aklavik and Hay River, four of which already have multiple prefixes. Communities that now have only one prefix are not likely to need a second prefix other than for local growth or the entry of a competitor (as in Aklavik and the twin Behchoko communities*).

* Behchoko has two separate exchange areas each with its own prefix, but Iristel's 292 prefix is overlaid on both using independent faciliites.

Places that use this area code[edit]

Area code 867 covers all points in the three Canadian territories:

Exchanges within the territories serve some customers in Fraser and Swan Lake, BC (from Carcross and Swift River, respectively). Fort Fitzgerald, AB is served from Fort Smith, NWT.[3] On a section of Alaska Highway which repeatedly (nine times) crosses the BC-Yukon border, two highway lodges and area residents are served by Watson Lake (867) numbers, not the nearer Lower Post (250) exchange.

Ellesmere Island is the northernmost terrestrial point in Canada. On Ellesmere, conventional telephony is available at Grise Fiord (1-867-980-xxxx), population 130, but not at two remote government outposts further north: Eureka, Nunavut (80.1°N) is host to an Environment Canada weather station[4] and Alert, Nunavut (82°N) is a Canadian Forces Station.[5] The only outside communication to Eureka is via satellite;[6] the weather station lists various extensions of an Ottawa 613 federal number, an Iridium satellite phone or the Winnipeg 204 number of a main Environment Canada office.[7] As Eureka is at the northern limit of access to geosynchronous satellite signals, a string of military terrestrial UHF links extends the signal from "Fort Eureka" to Canadian Forces Station Alert.[8] There is a skeleton crew at each location which is reachable by Internet or telephone, but these links are satellite or military communication and do not use the area code 867 infrastructure.

See also[edit]



External links[edit]

Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut area codes: 867
North: Arctic Ocean, Country code +7 in Russia
West: 907 Area Code 867 East: Atlantic Ocean, Country code +299 in Greenland
South: 204/431, 250/778/236, 306/639, 705, 709, 780/587/825, 807, 819/873
Alaska area codes: 907
Alberta area codes: 403, 587, 780, 825
British Columbia area codes: 236, 250, 604, 778
Manitoba area codes: 204, 431
Newfoundland and Labrador area codes: 709
Ontario area codes: 226, 249, 289, 343, 365, 416, 519, 613, 647, 705, 807, 905
Saskatchewan area codes: 306, 639
Quebec area codes: 418, 438, 450, 514, 579, 581, 819

Coordinates: 66°31′N 109°16′W / 66.52°N 109.26°W / 66.52; -109.26