Click a link below to find more information regarding the application process. Applications will not be accepted unless they are completely and thoroughly filled out.
New Short Code applications are considered every Tuesday. In order to have your application considered, it must be submitted before 1:00pm (ET) the preceding Thursday.
Subject to the volumes of new requests, the provisioning date for any newly approved Short Code applications is expected to be no earlier than November 7, 2022.
Annual Canadian Carrier Brownout Notice:
The Canadian Carrier Brownout is an annual carrier provisioning freeze during which new Short Codes, or changes requiring network updates to existing Short Codes, such as aggregator migrations or price point changes, do not occur.
Please make note of the following timeline changes to the Canadian Short Code provisioning process for the 2022-2023 brownout period:
In order to meet the last provisioning date of 2022 and to have a Short Code provisioned or migrated by ALL CARRIERS, applications must be submitted to the CWTA by:
Thursday, November 3, 2022 at 1:00pm ET
Applications submitted by this deadline will be provisioned by the participating carriers between Nov. 21 – Dec. 13, 2022.
**Applications submitted after this deadline will be scheduled for provisioning in January 2023.**
As always, the Short Code Council will continue to meet throughout the remainder of November and December to review applications for provisioning starting January 9, 2023, with Freedom, Rogers, and TELUS to follow with provisioning on January 10, 2023.
Programs will be considered on a first come, first served basis; provisioning dates are dependent on the volume of applications submitted.
Feel free to contact [email protected] should you have any questions.
Please note, that once the application has been approved, this will be the scope of the Program that will be developed for the particular Short Code requested. If for any reason, the scope of the Program does change once approval has been granted, the applicant must submit a revised application, clearly outlining the changes to the original program.
- Short Codes with a leading digit ‘4’ are not permitted.
- The maximum length of a text message is 320 characters.
- Programs that require, explicitly or implicitly, a guarantee that a text message will be delivered may not be supported.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are Common Short Codes?
Common Short Codes are 5- or 6-digit numbers, that are activated across multiple mobile networks, that can support high-volumes of text messages.
2. Who uses Common Short Codes?
Common Short Codes are primarily used by medium to large sized businesses and organizations to communicate with users or customers, or to allow users and customers to communicate with the business or organization.
3. Do Common Short Codes work on all mobile phone carriers?
Common Short Codes are generally supported on all major carrier networks. While the vast majority of carriers are able to support Short Codes, each carrier retains the right to not participate in a particular program.
Common Short Codes are currently supported by:
BCE Inc. (Bell Mobility, Bell MTS, PC Mobile, Virgin Plus, Lucky Mobile), Eastlink, Execulink, Fibernetics, Iristel (ICE Wireless), Shaw Communications Inc. (Freedom Mobile, Shaw Mobile), Rogers (Chatr, Fido), SaskTel, SSi Canada, Tbaytel, TELUS (Koodo, Public Mobile), Vidéotron (Fizz), Wightman Telecom, and Xplore Mobile.
4. How much does it cost consumers to send a text message to a Common Short Code?
In most cases, if a mobile phone user has an unlimited text messaging plan as part of their mobile phone package, there is no additional cost to send or receive a text message to or from a Common Short Code. If a mobile phone user does not have a text messaging plan, they could be charged the standard cost of a text message. This fee will vary carrier-to-carrier but will generally range between $0.10 and $0.20.The Content Provider of the Short Code must inform customers of cost to send a text message to the Short Code in question in promotional materials.
5. Isn’t this SPAM?
All Common Short Code programs are permission based. In order to opt-in or subscribe to a Common Short Code program, a consumer must initiate the action either by sending a designated keyword to the Short Code, or by providing their mobile number online, over the phone, or on a paper form, acknowledging you wish to receive alerts via text message. If an unwanted message from a 5- or a 6-digit Short Code number has been received, reply with the word STOP and a message will be returned confirming the opt-out request.
For additional information regarding SPAM, and Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation, please visit: www.fightspam.gc.ca.
6. How do I obtain a Common Short Code?
CWTA has been assigned the role of Short Code Administrator in Canada, to make Common Short Codes available on behalf of the carriers, maintain a current inventory of codes in-use and codes available, and to be the principal point of contact to parties interested in leasing a Common Short Code. For more information on the Common Short Code application process, please call 613-233-4888 and ask to speak with a member of the Common Short Code team or send an email to [email protected].
7. What are the requirements to obtain a Common Short Code?
- Firstly, a connection to the carrier networks is required, which is provided by an “Aggregator”. The Aggregator or Application Service Provider that any given business or organization chooses to work with will need to have connections to the carrier networks either directly or indirectly through a partner.
- A detailed application form including all relevant information regarding the program must be provided, including method of opt-ins that will be used, message frequency, and sample messages. Common Short Code application approval is not guaranteed and carriers retain the right to refrain from participating in any particular program.
- Two or more competing/separately owned carriers must agree to participate in the Common Short Code program.
- A non-refundable deposit of $1,500 + GST/HST is required at the time of application. This deposit will cover the first three months of the lease.
- All Common Short Codes must adhere to the industry’s Code of Conduct and other rules outlined in the Canadian Common Short Code Application Guidelines.
8. What are the standard lead times for the launching of new Common Short Codes?
Common Short Codes need to be activated, or “provisioned”, by the participating carriers. All carriers have slightly different lead times, but generally, a Common Short Code will be provisioned across all participating carrier networks in 3-6 weeks, from the time the application is approved.
9. How much do Common Short Codes cost?
CWTA charges a non-refundable deposit of $1,500 + GST/HST, which covers the first 3 months of the Common Short Code lease. Following the deposit period, monthly fees will be $350 + GST/HST per month. The fees apply as of the assigned date that the Common Short Code is to be activated on the networks. Aggregators, Application Service Providers or Messaging Providers, and carriers may also have separate fees. For information concerning non-CWTA fees, contact your Aggregator.
10. If I lease a Common Short Code, are there rules I must follow?
Yes. In addition to providing information about the program in an application form, you must follow the industry’s Code of Conduct and the Canadian Common Short Code Application Guidelines. It is also important to note that Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) must be followed and adhered to at all times. CWTA is not responsible for ensuring CASL compliance.
11. How long can a text message be?
The maximum length of a text message, including spaces, is 320 characters, unless otherwise specified or approved.
12. How long do I have the Common Short Code?
The Common Short Code will be assigned for a one-year lease. Prior to the expiration of the lease, and assuming the Common Short Code program and account are in good standing (from both a compliance and a billing perspective), CWTA will offer the Applicant the opportunity to renew the lease for a maximum of 12 months.
13. How do I get a list of available Common Short Codes?
You may check the availability of any Common Short Code online: https://www.txt.ca/en/shortcode-search/.
For any Common Short Code related questions, please contact the CWTA Short Code team at 613-233-4888 or email [email protected].