Telephone numbers in Canada

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Telephone numbers in Canada
ContinentNorth America
Access codes
Country code1
International access011

Telephone numbers in Canada follow the fixed-length format of the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) of a three-digit area code, a three-digit central office code (or exchange code), and a four-digit station or line code. This is represented as NPA NXX XXXX.[1]

Prefix assignments[edit]

For international access the NANP is assigned the country code 1, which is dialed as a prefix in the international E.164 telephone numbering plan.

The trunk prefix for dialing long-distance calls, across numbering plan area (NPA) boundaries within Canada or to other NANP countries, is also 1.

Local calls from Canadian landlines are dialled without the trunk prefix. Overseas calls to locations outside the NANP are dialled with the 011 international prefix, followed by the country code and the national significant number.

Canada was divided into nine numbering plan areas with unique area codes in 1947 when the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) designed the first comprehensive telephone numbering plan for the North American continent for Operator Toll Dialing. This was an effort to speed up the connection time of long-distance telephone calls, by eliminating a large group of intermediate telephone operators, and implementing destination code routing. The effort eventually led to Direct Distance Dialing (DDD) by telephone subscribers, and the North American Numbering Plan.

Yukon, and the far northern regions, nor Newfoundland and Labrador which was a British dominion at the time, were not included in the first assignments of 1947, for lack of telephone service. Locations with service bordering a numbering plan area, were later served with codes of the regional carriers, such as Northwestel, with toll-routing infrastructure.

Province / Territory Area codes
Area codes
by expansion and splits
Area codes
by overlays
Alberta 403 780 368, 587, 825
British Columbia 604 250 236, 672, 778
Manitoba 204 431, 584
New Brunswick (902)* 506 428
Newfoundland and Labrador (902)*, 709
Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island 902 782
Ontario 416, 613 519, 705, 807, 905 226, 249, 289, 343, 365, 437, 548, 647, 683, 742, 753
Quebec 418, 514 450, 819 263, 354, 367, 438, 468, 579, 581, 873
Saskatchewan 306 474, 639
Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut (403, 418, 819)**, 867
* Area code was withdrawn from area
** served by codes of regional carriers

No area codes have been split in Canada since 1999.

Area codes 709, 807, and 867 are the only remaining Canadian area codes that are not part of an overlay. Calls within each of these numbering plan areas may be initiated by seven-digit dialing.

Mobile phones[edit]

Mobile phone numbers are not uniquely different from land-line numbers, and thus follow the same rules for format and area code. Numbers may be ported between landline and mobile. The rarely used non-geographic area code 600 is an exception to this pattern (non-portable, and allows caller-pays-airtime satellite telephony); some independent landline exchanges are also non-portable.

Mobile phone providers support either CDMA or GSM; both are being supplanted by UMTS. Telus shut down its CDMA in mid-2015; Bell Mobility's CDMA network, the country's last major provider of that type, went dark on January 1, 2017.[2]

Toll-free and premium numbers[edit]

Non-geographic toll-free telephone numbers (800, 833,[3] 844, 855, 866, 877, 888) and premium-rate telephone numbers (900) are allocated centrally by the NANP Administrator. Calls to telephone numbers with the central office code 976 are billed as expensive premium calls.

Telephone number representation[edit]

Canadian (and other North American Numbering Plan) telephone numbers are usually written as NPA-NXX-XXXX. For example, 250 555 0199, a fictional number, could be written as (250) 555-0199, 250-555-0199, 250-5550199, or 250/555-0199. The Government of Canada's Translation Bureau recommends using hyphens between groups; e.g. 250-555-0199.[4] Using the format specified by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Recommendation E.164 for telephone numbers, a Canadian number is written as +1NPANXXXXXX, with no spaces, hyphens, or other characters; e.g. +12505550199.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "How to Write Telephone Numbers in Canada". Translation Bureau, Public Works and Government Services Canada. Archived from the original on April 25, 2016.
  2. ^ "Bell lays out plan to shutter its CDMA network by January 1st, 2017". MobileSyrup. April 9, 2014. Retrieved February 10, 2022.
  3. ^ "FCC Announces Release of New 833 Toll Free Prefix - ATL Communications". Archived from the original on February 27, 2018.
  4. ^ "To Drop or Not to Drop Parentheses in Telephone Numbers". Resources of the Language Portal of Canada – Languages – Canadian identity and society – Culture, history and sport – December 6, 2019. Retrieved February 10, 2022.

External links[edit]