OTTAWA, ON — The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission announced its intention to adopt 9-8-8 as the number to call or text for Canadians who require immediate mental health crisis and suicide prevention intervention.
Once the service is implemented, calls and texts to 9-8-8 will be directed to the required service free of charge.
In a release, the CRTC says 9-8-8 is an easy-to-remember three-digit number that will help reduce barriers to those services.
The CRTC notes the number will enable greater access to services “24/7 and free of charge.”
Additionally, the ability to text the number will allow people who prefer texting or cannot safely call access to these services.
For this number to work across Canada, 10-digit dialling will need to be introduced where 7-digit dialling is still used.
The CRTC reportedly requires service providers to complete the transition to 10-digit local dialling in these areas by May 31st, 2023.
Once this transition is complete, they will allow service providers six months to make the necessary changes to their networks to ensure 9-8-8 is launched across Canada at the same time on November 30th, 2023.
“We are taking a significant step in making mental health and suicide prevention resources more accessible to everyone in Canada. A single, easy-to-remember point of contact will provide much-needed help to those in crisis and will be crucial to saving lives,” said Ian Scott, chairperson and CEO of the CRTC.
“Although much work is left to be done to bring help to people who need it, we have set accelerated timelines to ensure that 9-8-8 is implemented as quickly and as efficiently as possible.”
- Talk Suicide Canada: 1-833-456-4566
- Text: 741741 for adults, 686868 for youths
- Talk Suicide Canada’s text: 45645 from 4 p.m. to midnight eastern standard time.
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