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CRTC to add new area codes in four provinces
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today launched processes to add new area codes in the regions currently served by:


  • 236, 250, 604 and 778 in British Columbia;
  • 418 and 581 in Quebec;
  • 506 in New Brunswick; and
  • 709 in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Since New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador currently have 7-digit local dialing, the introduction of new area codes in these provinces will require a transition to 10-digit local dialing. This will ensure that all local calls are routed to the correct area code.

The CRTC is establishing relief planning committees to evaluate various options and make recommendations. Those interested in participating in these processes can contact the Canadian Numbering Administrator (CNA) by telephone at 613-563-7242 or visit www.cnac.ca.

Quick Facts
  • The CNA administers the distribution of phone numbers in Canada on behalf of the CRTC.
  • The CNA has advised the CRTC that area codes will be needed in the coming years to meet the growing demand for new numbers.
  • Two provinces will transition from 7-digit local dialing to 10-digit local dialing in the next few years, namely New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • As part of the process, the relief planning committees will take the appropriate steps to ensure a smooth transition to 10-digit dialing.
  • Presently, northwest Ontario, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon still have 7-digit local dialing.
 

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I thought 10-digit local calling was a required everywhere in North American Numbering Plan area about a decade ago but I guess I was wrong. I'm not so surprised that Northwestern Ontario, area code 807, remains the only area in Southern Canada where 7-digit local calling will remain. Did you know that according to Wikipedia area code 807 remains more than 60% unused?
 

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The only places where 10 digit dialling is really required are Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, where more than one area code is required for a single local calling area. In the rest of the country, area codes could have been split rather than overlaid. For example, rather than assigning 587 and 825 to the entire province of Alberta, 780 could have been shrunk to Edmonton only, 403 shrunk to Calgary only, and 587 and 825 used for the rest of the current 403 and 780 areas.
 

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I'm not so surprised that Northwestern Ontario, area code 807, remains the only area in Southern Canada where 7-digit local calling will remain.
Back in the mid '70s, when I was working in Northern Ontario, there were many areas of the 705 & 807 area codes where you only had to dial 5 digits. In fact, the first time I was in Armstrong, in 1975, was shortly after they switched from 2 digit dialing to 5!

Ten digit dialing came to the GTA in October 1993, coincidentally with my move from an apartment to my condo. At that time, you could use either 416 or 905 to reach Mississauga numbers, so I not only changed street addresses, I also changed area codes. ;-)

Ten digit dialing was in place in the U.S. before then and other areas of Canada since.
 

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10-digit local calling isn't required everywhere, not yet, but it's getting pretty close. Although 10-digit dialing could be delayed by using area code splits instead of overlays, every time they do a split, roughly half the population has to change their area code or phone number anyway. Also, each time they do a split, the resulting area covered by the area code gets smaller.

Overlays have several advantages over splits:

1) Nobody needs to change their phone number. With a split, about half the people would need to change at least their area code, if not their entire phone number

2) Overlays make more efficient use of numbering resources. Rural areas have less demand for phone numbers than cities, so if you split the city from the surrounding area, you're likely to have more unutilized numbers in the country and run through the new area code faster in the city.

3) Each time there's a split, the geographic area of the split is reduced. So let's say Calgary got its own area code, split from the rest of Alberta. When Calgary uses up all those numbers, another split or overlay is needed. If you split again, then you've got NE/NW Calgary having a different area code than SE/SW, half the people change their numbers again, and you have to dial ten digits to call across town. Simpler just to get an overlay.

4) Teaching people to dial "204" first (or whatever the area code) is easier than getting everybody to change their number.

Regardless of what they do, there's only enough area codes for the next 30-40 years, before all of North America runs out. Then, you're not just looking at 10 digit dialing, but 11 or 12 digits.
 

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Smaller geographic areas are a good thing to a point. Split area codes convey geographic information that overlaid area codes do not. 416 and 905 made good descriptors of particular regions of Ontario, and 780 = Edmonton and 403 = Calgary would have worked well in Alberta. I would agree that overlays are better once you are down to city size though. Currently, that would only apply to the lower mainland in BC, the GTA and the Montreal area.

I don't see how we could run out of numbers any time soon. 10 digits provides over 5 billion combinations, even after the reserved codes are factored in. If we assume the population of Canada and the USA will grow to 500 million, that is still 10 numbers per person. A work phone, a personal phone and 8 more?
 

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That may not be enough. Two person household.
1 home phone. 2 cell phones. 2 tablets. 2 cars each with its own sim for the nav system. 1 ( at least) work number per person, perhaps a separate number for the home alarm system. And what about numbers at the cottage.

I guess the limit is how many digits can your average human remember and dial correctly. Most of us will have numbers in a directory in a device and call by name I would think.


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I have 8 google voice numbers(don't ask me why), We have 6 cell numbers(3 US and 3 Canada), Also 3 voip numbers for home. 2 people.
Of course these are USa and Canada.
 

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^^^^
I have home phone, cell phone, work cell phone and 2 VoIP numbers on my cell phone, one of which is a U.S. number.
 

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What would you folk think if the CRTC imposed a "Telephone Number Conservation Tax" in order to use pricing to regulate the market and reduce the need for new area codes in the future?
 

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^^^^
Yeah, we've got to conserve those numbers, before we run out. ;)

Actually, I doubt that will ever happen. There are already mechanisms in place to allow for an easy increase from 3 to 4 area code digits. For example, ever notice there are no area codes with a 9 as the 2nd digit? This means it can be used to first get people used to dialing 4 digits and then later, start using other digits for that position, moving existing 2nd digits to 3rd. For example, 416 would become 4916, with either working, then 416 would be dropped. After that, other digits could be used, so that there might be 4816, 4216 etc, in addition to 4916. Of course this all ignores the fact that VoIP can use email type addresses, instead of just numbers, which will reduce the need for more digits.
 

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Unlike the US, Canada does not use thousand-block pooling. That would go a long way toward reducing the need for new area codes, since carriers could be assigned blocks of 1000 numbers instead of entire prefixes, as is the case now.
 

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The long term answer would just use the IPV6 numbering scheme...only would need a tiny part of the address space. Get rid of POTS altogether and expand or reinvent DNS to have unique addressing for everyone on the planet, everything above the transport layer done by name. The 'cloud' to contain the directory. Mobile phones have plenty of computing power to use a little for this.


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New area code 672 for British Columbia
Starting May 4, 2019, an additional area code will be introduced in British Columbia. The introduction of the new area code 672 is the result of a decision by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and is intended to meet the continuously growing demand for more telephone numbers.

"The introduction of a new area code creates millions of additional telephone numbers without affecting the existing numbers," said Glen Brown, Director of the Canadian Numbering Administrator. "The new area code 672 will be added to the current 604, 250, 778 and 236 area codes already in use in British Columbia."

The new area code will be introduced gradually across the province starting on May 4, 2019. After this date, consumers and businesses requesting a new phone number may receive one with the new area code. Numbers with the new 672 area code will only be assigned to customers once there is no longer a sufficient supply of numbers with the existing area codes – 604, 250, 778 and 236.

The introduction of a new area code in a region does not affect the geographic boundaries for local calling areas or the way long distance calls are dialed. Special numbers such as 211, 311, 411, 611 and 911 will not be affected and will still be dialed using only three digits.

Other new area codes in Canada
Starting on November 24, 2018, a new area code – 367 – will be introduced in the regions of Québec currently served by area codes 418 and 581. Other new area codes will also be introduced in the upcoming years in New Brunswick and Newfoundland & Labrador.
Press Release
 

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New 672 area code for British Columbia

Starting on May 4, 2019, consumers and businesses requesting a new phone number may receive one with the new area code 672. Numbers with the new 672 area code will only be assigned to customers once there is no longer a sufficient supply of numbers with the existing area codes – 604, 250, 778 and 236.

To ensure a seamless transition, businesses are encouraged to consider whether any changes will be required to their phone equipment. For example, businesses that restrict long distance calls will need to reprogram their equipment to accept the 672 area code as local. Residential customers will not need to make any changes to their equipment.
 

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