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.


Application Deadlines

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. 

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. 

Due to the Brownout, and subject to the volume of new requests, the provisioning date for any newly approved Short Code is expected to be no earlier than January 10, 2022. 

Programs will continue to 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.


Program Changes

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.


Important Notes

    • 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 to which a text message can be sent, in order to participate in some type of automated application. These applications include information retrieval, TV and radio voting, direct response marketing and purchasing of goods or services. 4-digit codes are reserved for Canadian carriers to use on their own individual networks.

2. Who uses Short Codes?

Short Codes are obtained by Content Providers or marketers who wish to offer unique applications to mobile phone customers. These Content Providers access mobile phone customers via a connection directly or indirectly to the carriers’ text messaging networks.

3. Does this work on all mobile phone carriers?

Yes. Common Short Codes are generally active on all carrier networks. While the vast majority of Short Codes are activated on all of the carrier networks, each carrier retains the right to not participate in a particular program.

4. How much does it cost consumers to send a text message to a Short Code?

The price of the content or application is determined by the Short Code Applicant, subject to carriers’ discretion. In addition to their standard text messaging rates, carriers could possibly program several additional premium price points. Applicants should consider choosing from the following price points:

$0.00, $0.15, $0.25, $0.50, $0.75, $1.00, $1.25, $1.50, $1.75, $2.00, $3.00, $4.00, $5.00, and $10.00.

While applicants are free to propose end user charges that differ from these suggested price points, some carriers may require additional lead time to accommodate different price points. The holder of the Short Code must inform customers of cost to send a text message to the Short Code in question in promotional materials. The applicant must also inform the carriers of end user pricing at the time of application.

5. Isn’t this SPAM?

No. All Short Code programs are permission based. In order to opt-in or subscribe to a Short Code program, you must initiate the action either by sending a designated keyword to the Short Code, or by providing your mobile number online, over the phone, or on a paper form, acknowledging you wish to receive alerts via text message. For additional information regarding SPAM, and Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation, please visit:

6. What is a Common Short Code program?

Two or more competing carriers participating in a Short Code program constitute a “common” program making the program eligible for use of the Common Short Codes.

7. How do I obtain a Common Short Code?

Contact the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA). The CWTA has been chosen to make the Common Short Codes available on behalf of the operators, maintain a current inventory of codes in-use and codes available, and to be the principal point of contact to parties interested in obtaining a common short code. Phone 613-233-4888 and ask to speak with a member of the Short Code Team or send an email to [email protected]

8. What are the requirements to obtain a Short Code?

I) Short Codes can only be assigned to specific programs so detailed information regarding the program must be provided, including the desired price for the Short Code program. Carriers retain the right to refrain from participating in any particular program.

II) You will need to establish SMPP (Short Message Peer to Peer Protocol) connectivity with wireless carriers either directly or indirectly. SMPP is the language by which the servers that host SMS applications and the Short Message Service Centres (SMSC) speak to enable two-way SMS. The CWTA has contact information for each of the carriers and for numerous aggregators with connections to the carriers’ networks.

lll) Two or more carriers must agree to participate in your Short Code program.

IV) For the Short Code to be provisioned on a carriers’ network, a satisfactory bilateral commercial agreement must be created with the wireless carrier in question.

V) A deposit of $1,500 + GST/HST, which will cover the first three months of the lease, is required at time of application.

VI) You must adhere to the industry’s Code of Conduct and other rules outlined in the document “Canadian Common Short Code Application Guidelines”.

9. What are the standard lead times for the launching of new programs?

The carriers normally allow a minimum of 30-45 days from the time the application is approved until launch of the program.

10. How much do Common Short Codes cost?

The non-refundable deposit of $1,500 + GST/HST will cover the first 3 months of the Short Code lease. Following the deposit period, monthly fees will be $350 + GST/HST per month. Submitted applications will not be considered until the deposit is paid in full. The fees apply as of the assigned date that the Short Code are to be activated on the networks.

11. If I lease a Common Short Code, are there rules I must follow?

Yes. In addition to providing information about the program or application you wish to offer customers (to which the mobile phone operators must agree to participate), you must follow the industry’s Code of Conduct and the Canadian Common Short Code Application Guidelines.

12. How long can a text message be?

The maximum length of a text message, including spaces, is 320 characters, unless otherwise specified by the Administrator.

13. Can I charge any price I want for my application?

Yes, however it is subject to the ability of the carriers to bill this price on your behalf. You must inform the carriers of the end user pricing at the time you submit your program information, and you must inform customers of pricing prior to use of the Short Code program.

14. How long do I have the Short Code?

The Short Code will be assigned for the duration of the program or application that you propose to offer, to a maximum of 1 year. Prior to the expiration of the lease and assuming the Common Short Code program and account are in good standing, the CWTA will offer the leaseholder the opportunity to renew the lease for a maximum of 12 months.

15. How should I advertise the Short Code?

We recommend that when you advertise the assigned Short Code, you should include the spelling of the numeric code, to avoid as much confusion as possible. For example, advertising the Short Code “CWTA” should be accompanied by “2982”. This is especially important when the Short Code includes both letters and numbers.

Also, when advertising the Short Code, refer to the words “text messaging” rather than “SMS”. More people are familiar with the term “text messaging”, and this too will reduce confusion for your consumers.

16. How do I get a list of available Short Codes?

Please contact the CWTA to obtain more information. Telephone 613-233-4888 and ask to speak with a member of the Short Code Team or email [email protected].