Starting March 5, 2011, residents of the region served by the 705 area code in Northern Ontario will be required to dial 10 digits - the area code followed by the seven-digit phone number- for all local calls.

The transition period began on January 15, however, local calls will no longer be automatically completed if they are dialed without the 705 area code.

Local telecom companies indicate that 10-digit dialing is now being used by a majority of callers when making local calls in the 705 area. Any exceptions are due in part to numbers that have been stored in the memory of various communication systems and automatic dialing devices.

"We are pleased with the participation rates among residents in the 705 area. However, we must highlight the need for callers to ensure that all numbers stored in communication systems and devices, particularly in alarm systems, Internet connections and call forwarding devices, have been programmed for 10-digit dialing. This will help avoid any disruptions after the cut-off date for 7 digit dialing of March 5, 2011," stated Glenn Pilley, spokesperson for the Canadian Numbering Administrator.

Starting March 19, 2011, a new area code, 249, will be gradually introduced to the 705 region using the overlay method. This new area code will coexist with the current 705 area code and will cover the same geographic area. Customers with area code 705 numbers will keep their numbers. Numbers with the new 249 area code will only be assigned to customers for additional services on an as-needed basis. Introducing a new area code does not affect local calling areas.

The 249 area code is in response to a Canadian Numbering Administrator (CNA) report to the CRTC in March of 2009 which predicted the 705 region would run out of 705 telephone numbers by October 2012.

Over the last ten years, the increased use of cell phones, wireless data services, the Internet and IP telephony has vastly increased the demand for new telephone numbers. New area codes introduced in the last ten years include: the 647 Area Code in Toronto, 438 in Montréal, 581 in the portion of Québec served by the 418 code, 587 in Alberta, 343 in Eastern Ontario, 226 in South Western Ontario, 579 surrounding Montreal and 289 in the area surrounding Toronto.

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