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10-Digit dialing starts this weekend

By Katie Nicholls Mar 31, 2023 | 4:00 AM

Having to dial the area code to call a local number will come into effect this weekend.

Installing a new mental health emergency number was the major contributing factor to switching to 10 digits, across Canada.

Right now, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunication Commission has to get all of Canada onto 10-digit local dialling as places in northern Ontario, Yellowknife and parts of Newfoundland and Labrador still utilize seven-digit dialling.

Dialling 988 will be a free number that people can call 24/7 during a mental health crisis. For those who prefer texting or it is unsafe to call, texting will also be available.

Service providers have been given a deadline of May 31, 2023, to have all those communities on board, with the launch of 988 mental health crisis lines scheduled on Nov. 30, 2023.

10-digit dialling for the Thunder Bay region was considered necessary because the demand for phone numbers in the region is increasing, and the 807 area code is expected to run out of numbers by 2024. This means that a new area code is needed to provide additional phone numbers for residents and businesses in the area.

The dialling of 10 digits is already in use in other parts of Canada, including major cities such as Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. However, this will be the first time Thunder Bay residents must use 10-digit dialling for all local calls.

The implementation of the expanded dialling, it will allow telecommunications companies to make more phone numbers available, which is especially important for businesses and organizations that require multiple lines. Additionally, 10-digit dialling helps to reduce confusion and errors when dialling long-distance numbers, as it becomes second nature to include the area code for all calls.

It is important to note that emergency services will still be available by dialling 911, and that calls to toll-free numbers (such as 1-800 numbers) will not require the use of the area code. However, it is recommended that residents update any stored phone numbers in their devices to include the area code, to avoid any confusion or missed calls.

Overall, the introduction of 10-digit dialling in Thunder Bay is a necessary change that will provide additional phone numbers and help to streamline the dialling process.


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