The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is adopting 9-8-8 as the free number to call or text for Canadians who are in need of immediate mental health crisis and suicide prevention intervention.

Using the 9-8-8 number will help reduce barriers to mental health and suicide prevention resources and enable greater access regardless of geographic location or socioeconomic status, said the CRTC. 

"We are taking a significant step in making mental health and suicide prevention resources more accessible to everyone in Canada,” said Ian Scott, Chair and CEO of the CRTC.   

“A single, easy-to-remember point of contact will provide much-needed help to those in crisis and will be crucial to saving lives. 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." 

The 9-8-8 is expected to be launched across Canada at the same time on November 30, 2023. 

For 9-8-8 to function across Canada, 10-digit dialing must first be introduced in areas where 7digit dialing is still the norm. This includes Newfoundland and Labrador, northern Ontario and the Yellowknife area.