The CRTC has announced that it will adopt 9-8-8 as the number to call or text for Canadians who need immediate mental health crisis and suicide prevention intervention. The new three-digit number, 9-8-8, will be implemented across Canada on November 30th, 2023.
Implementing 9-8-8 as an easy-to-remember three-digit number will help reduce barriers to mental health and suicide prevention resources. The ability to text to 9-8-8 will ensure that people in crisis who may be unable to make safe calls or need to text can obtain the help they need. Furthermore, the number will enable greater access regardless of geographic location or socioeconomic status as it will be available from coast to coast, 24/7 and free of charge.
For the successful use of 9-8-8 across Canada, 10-digit dialing must replace areas where 7-digit dialing is still in use. Areas still using 7-digit dialing include Newfoundland and Labrador, Northern Ontario, and Yellowknife. By May 31, 2023, these areas will enforce the transition to 10-digit local dialing, simultaneously ensuring that 9-8-8 is available coast-to-coast.