Area code 867

Area code 867 is the area code in the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) for the three Canadian territories, all of which are in Northern Canada. Area code 867 was created on October 21, 1997 from area codes 403 and 819. The least populated mainland North American numbering plan area (NPA), it serves about 100,000 people, but it is geographically the largest, at 3,921,739 km2 (1,514,192 sq mi), with Alaska a distant second.

Map of Canada with area code 867 in Orange/Red.

It is adjacent to Greenland, Russia (across the North Pole), and eight provinces or states (Alaska, Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Quebec), more jurisdictions than any other area code in North America. It is also one of four Canadian area codes that have yet to be overlaid, the others being area code 506, area code 709 (both of which are currently slated for overlays), and area code 807.

The incumbent local exchange carrier for area code 867 is Northwestel, a subsidiary of BCE. Until 1964, the geographic area now served by 867 had up to five independent telephone companies, as well as Bell Canada.[citation needed]

Numbering plan areaEdit

Area code 867 is the most expensive geographic calling area in Canada.[1] Iristel (the one major CLEC in the region) bills its subscribers in other area codes a 15¢/minute premium to call 1-867 numbers and charges a $20/year premium to issue a 1-867 number in-region instead of assigning the same subscriber any other Canadian area code.[2]

The digits were supposedly chosen to promote the theme "TOP of the world", as 867 spells TOP on a standard North American keypad.[3] Also, when combined with the North American dialing code +1, it spells 1867, which is the year of Canadian Confederation.

It has the largest land area of any area code in the North American Numbering Plan. The territorial extent reaches 3,173 km (1,972 mi) from Cape Dyer on Baffin Island to the Alaska border, and 4,391 km (2,728 mi) from the south end of James Bay to the North Pole. The largest distances between exchanges are 2,200 km (1,400 mi) from Sanikiluaq to Grise Fiord, and 3,365 km (2,091 mi) from Beaver Creek to Pangnirtung. Four different official time zones are observed within the area: Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific.


Originally, Yukon and the west of the Northwest Territories were included in Alberta's numbering plan area 403, and served by a number of local companies that were eventually merged into Canadian National Telecommunications, a subsidiary of the Canadian National Railway. CNT's operations in the territories became Northwestel in 1979.

The eastern Northwest Territories were among the last areas of North America without telephone service. When area codes were instituted in 1947, the region was nominally part of western Quebec's area code 514. In 1957, those non-diallable areas were nominally shifted to eastern Quebec's area code 418. Bell Canada introduced telephone service in the eastern Northwest Territories in 1958. As direct distance dialing was rolled out in this area in the 1970s, the eastern Northwest Territories and a large swath of northwestern Quebec were shifted to western Quebec's area code 819. Bell Canada sold its northern service territory to Northwestel in 1992.

Until area code 867 was created, area codes 403 and 819 had been geographically the two largest in the North American Numbering Plan. Area code 403 spanned more than one ninth of the planet's circumference, and area code 819 spanned one eighth.

Since the creation of area code 867, all of the former 819 portion of the Northwest Territories, as well as the portion of the former 403 portion covering five exchanges, has become part of Nunavut. Area code 403, covering Alberta, has since been further split to create area code 780 for the northern two thirds of Alberta, including Edmonton.

All existing prefixes stayed the same with the change to 867, with one exception. The conflict between 403 and 979 at Inuvik and 819–979 at Iqaluit was resolved by changing Inuvik from 403–979 to 867–777. A minor programming glitch allowed for a few weeks late in 1997 callers in the Inuvik area to dial 403-777 and reach Inuvik when they actually should have routed to Calgary, which appeared on customer's bills, along with the higher rate.

Northwestel's proposal for a new regulatory regime was approved for 2007 to allow resale of local telephone service, but no competitors entered the market to avail themselves of the resale option. In 2011, facilities-based local service competition was approved by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and so additional central office codes are now required for competitive carriers wishing to offer local service. The expense limits deployment so far to Whitehorse, Yellowknife, Inuvik, Behchokǫ̀, Aklavik and Hay River, four of which already have multiple prefixes. Communities that now have only one prefix are not likely to need a second prefix other than for local growth or the entry of a competitor (as in Aklavik and the twin Behchokǫ̀ communities, Rae-Edzo*).

While the sparsely-populated area is unlikely to exhaust numbers anytime for the foreseeable future, ten-digit dialing will likely need to be implemented in the near future. In June 2021, the CRTC recommended implementing the three-digit code 9-8-8, which is already in use as a local exchange in area code 867, as the nationwide number for suicide prevention hotlines. The CRTC decision followed the decision of the US Federal Communications Commission to adopt 9-8-8 as the number for the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.[4]

* Behchokǫ̀ has two separate exchange areas, each with its own prefix, but Iristel's 292 prefix is overlaid, with both using independent facilities.

Service areaEdit

Area code 867 covers all points in the three Canadian territories:

Exchanges within the territories serve some customers in Fraser and Swan Lake, British Columbia (from Carcross and Swift River, respectively). Fitzgerald, Alberta is served from Fort Smith, Northwest Territories.[5] On a section of the Alaska Highway which crosses the BC-Yukon border six times in 6 mi (9.7 km), two highway lodges and area residents on the Yukon side are served by Watson Lake (867) numbers, not the nearer Lower Post (250) exchange.

Ellesmere Island is the northernmost terrestrial point in Canada. On Ellesmere, conventional telephony is available at Grise Fiord (1-867-980-xxxx), population 130, but not at two remote government outposts further north: Eureka, Nunavut (80.1°N) is host to an Environment Canada weather station[6] and Alert, Nunavut (82°N) is a Canadian Forces Station.[7] The only outside communication to Eureka is via satellite;[8] the weather station lists various extensions of an Ottawa 613 federal number, an Iridium satellite phone or the Winnipeg 204 number of a main Environment Canada office.[9] As Eureka is at the northern limit of access to geosynchronous satellite signals, a string of military terrestrial UHF links extends the signal from "Fort Eureka" to CFS Alert.[10] There is a skeleton crew at each location which is reachable by Internet or telephone, but these links are satellite or military communication and do not use the area code 867 infrastructure.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Andrew Robulack. "It's time to ditch 867". Yukon News. Retrieved 2013-06-10.
  3. ^ Bowen, Dana (May–June 2021). "The Call of the North". Up Here. Vol. 37, no. 3. p. 17.
  4. ^ "Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2021-191". Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. June 3, 2021. Retrieved June 21, 2021.
  5. ^ "Canadian Numbering Plan and Dialling Plan" (PDF). The Canadian Steering Committee on Numbering (CSCN). October 26, 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 5, 2013. Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  6. ^ Canada, Environment and Climate Change. "Nunavut environmental science centres -". Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  7. ^ Force, Government of Canada, National Defence, Royal Canadian Air. "Canadian Forces Station Alert - 8 Wing - Royal Canadian Air Force". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  8. ^ "A VISITOR'S GUIDE TO EUREKA" (PDF). Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-01-11. Retrieved 2015-01-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ Proc, Jerry. "CFS Alert". Retrieved 15 January 2018.

External linksEdit

Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut area codes: 867
North: Arctic Ocean, Country code +7 in Russia
West: 907 Area Code 867 East: Atlantic Ocean, Country code +299 in Greenland
South: 204/431, 250/778/236/672, 306/639, 705/249, 709, 780/587/825, 807, 819/873
Alaska area codes: 907
Alberta area codes: 403, 587/825, 780
British Columbia area codes: 236/672/778, 250, 604
Manitoba area codes: 204, 431
Newfoundland and Labrador area codes: 709
Ontario area codes: 226/519/548, 249/705, 289/365/905, 343/613, 416/437/647, 807
Saskatchewan area codes: 306, 639
Quebec area codes: 367/418/581, 438/514, 450/579, 819/873

Coordinates: 66°31′N 109°16′W / 66.52°N 109.26°W / 66.52; -109.26