Phone users must switch to 10-digit dialing

By Elisa Nguyen
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Cellphone users may need to update their contacts to adapt to the 10-digit dialing change coming into effect April 1.

The change was mandated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in order to support the implementation of the new national 3-digit number, 9-8-8, for mental health and suicide prevention, which will launch on November 23, 2023.

“The mandate is for every provider in the 807 area code, not just Tbaytel,” said Jamie Smith, communication coordinator for Tbaytel.

It requires customers to dial 807 in addition to the 7-digit number.

In a similar manner, users are required to enter “1” followed by the 10-digit number to make long-distance calls. This applies to both mobility and landline networks.

For all local calls originating from a cell phone, if the area code is not dialed, the caller will hear a reminder message before the call is completed. Starting on May 31, the call will not be completed unless 10-digits are dialed.

The same applies for home phone and business voice customers with some extra buffer time; 10-digit dialing will become mandatory for residential and business customers in early 2024.

Until then, a reminder message will also be heard before the call is completed.

The mandatory 10-digit dialing for landline networks does not come into effect until early next year because Tbaytel is currently in the process of updating their existing landline and voice network.

“As such, 10-digit dialing cannot be implemented for Home Phone and Business Voice Customers until that work has been completed. This work and augmented timeline will not impact Tbaytel’s ability to implement access to 9-8-8 on November 30, 2023,” wrote Tbaybel’s website.

When written or printed, the 10-digit number should be visually separated by dashes, spaces or periods. The area code should not appear in parentheses since this may lead the caller to believe the area code is optional, according to Tbaytel.

Smith said that those interested in learning more about the change can visit their website at