OTTAWA (ON) and GATINEAUQC, August 31, 2022 /CNW/ – Today, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced that it will adopt 9-8-8 as the call or text number for Canadians in need of assistance. immediate response to mental health crisis and suicide prevention. When implemented by telephone and wireless service providers,
calls and texts to 9-8-8 will be directed to a mental health crisis or suicide prevention service free of charge.
Implementing 9-8-8 as an easy-to-remember three-digit number will help reduce barriers to mental health and suicide prevention resources. The number will allow greater access regardless of geographic location or socio-economic status, as it will be available coast to coast, 24/7 and toll-free. Additionally, the ability to text 9-8-8 will ensure that people in crisis who cannot call safely, or who prefer to text, can get advice.
Transition to 10-digit local dialing
For 9-8-8 to work through Canada, 10-digit dialing must first be introduced in areas where 7-digit dialing is still the norm. This includes Newfoundland and Labradornorth Ontario and the Yellowknife Region. The CRTC is asking service providers to complete the transition to 10-digit local dialing in these areas by May 31stst2023.
Once the transition is complete, service providers will have six months to make the necessary changes to their networks to allow callers to dial or text 9-8-8.
This will ensure the 9-8-8 is thrown through Canada at the same time, on November 30e2023.
Help is always available in the meantime
Currently, people in Canada who are experiencing mental health issues can get help through Talk Suicide Canada by calling toll free 1-833-456-4566. Residents of Quebec are encouraged to call 1-866-APPELLE (1-866-277-3553).
Support is also available via SMS. Adults can text 741741 and young people 686868. Quebec residents can text 1-855-957-5353. The Talk Suicide Canada texting service is available on the evening of 4:00 p.m. to midnight EST by texting 45645.
“We are taking an important 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 people in crisis and will be crucial in saving lives. While much work remains to be done to get help to those in need, we have established expedited timelines to ensure 9-8-8 is implemented as quickly and efficiently as possible. . »
– Ian ScottPresident and CEO of the CRTC
- The CRTC’s role in establishing three-digit numbers is to administer telephone numbers and require telecommunications service providers to implement 9-8-8 dialing in Canada.
- The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) will determine the following:
- the entity that will handle calls made to 9-8-8,
- the number that will be connected to 9-8-8, and
- the scope of services offered through ongoing discussions with provincial, territorial and Indigenous partners and suicide prevention stakeholders.
- The CRTC held a public proceeding in which Canadians, Indigenous organizations, organizations providing mental health crisis and suicide prevention services, organizations representing consumer interests, and Deaf, Deaf-Blind Canadians hearing impaired, telecommunications service providers and various levels of government provided their views.
- The CRTC has ordered Canadian wireless service providers to inform their customers who call or text 9-8-8 that it is not yet implemented in Canadaand provide them with information about suicide prevention services Canada. The CRTC has also encouraged all companies providing voice services to inform their customers. Additionally, vendors were asked to share this information on their websites.
- Between 2017 and 2019, there were approximately 4,500 deaths by suicide in Canada each year, or about 12 deaths per day. Certain populations experience higher suicide rates and risk, including men, youth, people between the ages of 45 and 59, those who identify as part of the LGBTQ2 community, and some Indigenous communities.
SOURCE Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
For further information: Media Relations, 819 997-9403; General inquiries, 819-997-0313, toll free 1-877-249-CRTC (2782), TTY 819-994-0423