Country Summary

Country nameCanada
ISO codeCA
RegionNorth America
Dialing code+1

Guidelines

Use Cases

Short codes are ideal for high-throughput (100 messages per second by default) programmatic messaging.

Short codes are approved for specific use cases, so if you are experiencing carrier filtering on long codes you may be a good candidate for short codes.

Some of the most common use cases for short codes in Canada include: 

  • Two-factor authentication (2FA) or one-time passwords (OTP)
  • Promotional or marketing alerts
  • Account alert notifications
  • Reminders (appointments, upcoming payments, etc.)
Restrictions

Short codes can only message users on carriers within the countries in which they are provisioned. Although Twilio can provision short codes in multiple countries, if your customers are not located in Canada, you should not obtain a Canada short code.

Short codes require express consent from end users before an SMS can be sent; if you cannot obtain consent you should not use a short code.

Twilio and/or the carriers will not support certain types of campaigns, including: 

  • Those in which express end-user consent cannot be obtained. This includes friend-to-friend invite-based campaigns, as well as opt-ins obtained through lead generation.
  • Those containing sexual/adult content (which is prohibited by Twilio’s AUP).
  • Short codes sending messages on behalf of more than one brand.
  • Cannabis or cannabis related messaging (including CBD).

Note: Campaigns dealing with age-restricted content (alcohol, gambling, etc.) are allowed, but will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the CWTA.

Other Options

Toll-free numbers are the best alternative.

Requirements
  1. A completed and submitted short-code application. Although every piece of information on our application is important, the following pieces are most critical and must be fully completed to move forward with the process.
    • Example messages must be specific and representative of actual messages that will be sent using the short code.
    • If your website is not yet completed or functional, a mockup of your website design must be submitted along with your application.
  2. A completed CWTA short-code application, attached to your Twilio application. (After you submit your application, the short-code team will be happy to help you complete this document.)
  3. An actual, in-production example of the user experience that meets specific requirements.
Timeframe

12 -16 weeks, once you submit all required information and documentation. 

Please expect delays on any applications submitted from mid October through early January, as the Canadian carriers have an annual provisioning freeze during this time.

Regulatory Bodies

Multiple entities determine what is or is not permitted on a given short code.

  1. Twilio will not approve short code applications that violate our AUP.
  2. Customers must adhere to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) requirements.
  3. Twilio’s providers perform their own compliance checks prior to sending applications to the carriers for review. These providers may have their own policies and rules about what they will or will not submit, although they generally align with the carriers. 
  4. The CTIA is a carrier trade association that has outlined specific requirements for short-code campaigns; these requirements are detailed in the CTIA Short Code Compliance Handbook.
  5. Finally, each carrier may approve or reject any use case on their network, even if all requirements are met.
Pricing

Click to see SMS pricing, including for short codes.

Next Steps

Once approved, you must configure your short code to respond to the mandatory compliance keywords HELP and STOP and implement proper blacklist functionality for STOP requests. You can either build this functionality yourself or leverage Twilio’s Advanced Opt Out feature.

Note: Your HELP and STOP keyword responses cannot deviate from what was approved in your CWTA application without first filing an amendment with the CWTA. This process generally takes 2 - 3 weeks. Failure to notify the CWTA of updates to your messaging can result in your short code temporarily being shut down.

For the benefit of all our customers, these guidelines are provided to help you comply with applicable requirements and to help ensure Twilio's platform remains compliant with global telecommunications ecosystem requirements. These guidelines represent our current understanding of common compliance requirements generally applicable to Twilio and its customers, and do not constitute legal advice. By posting these guidelines, Twilio makes no assurances regarding the legal compliance of your application built using our APIs. You are expected to understand and abide by all compliance obligations applicable to your specific application. You should check these pages regularly for updates as telecommunications ecosystem requirements continue to evolve and change, and the information below may be updated or changed without notice.