Consultation about a 3-digit phone number for mental health support
Current status: Closed
The consultation ran from June 3, 2021 to September 1, 2021.
See the “What we heard” section to find the comments that were submitted.
We are all familiar with 9-1-1, the phone number for police, fire and medical emergencies. How about a 3-digit phone number for mental health emergencies? When someone is having a mental health crisis, it can be very difficult to find—or remember—a 10-digit or 7-digit phone number. This can prevent someone from receiving the help they urgently need.
We asked Canadians whether they think Canada should have a 3-digit phone number that connects to mental health crisis and suicide prevention services. Suicide is a complex issue that affects people of all ages and backgrounds. In Canada, many different organizations offer mental health support. The services they offer and the areas they serve vary greatly. The 3-digit number would direct the caller to the appropriate mental health crisis or suicide prevention service in their area. But implementing this in Canada will have both benefits and challenges.
The CRTC regulates the phone and wireless companies who direct and connect calls to call centres. Call centres and emergency services fall under the jurisdiction of provincial, territorial and municipal governments. The organizations that provide mental health services will not be part of our assessment. We do not have any authority over those organizations. Our role is to examine the technical implications of a 3-digit phone number and oversee its implementation by the companies, if we find that it is in the public interest.
Key topics for discussion
The CRTC needs to consider the advantages and challenges associated with the deployment of this type of number. Among other things, we sought input on the following questions:
- Should we establish a national 3-digit number for a mental health crisis and suicide prevention services?
- How much time would it take to implement a national 3-digit number?
- Should a 3-digit number be deployed across Canada at the same time or phased in?
- Should the caller’s location information be captured automatically when dialing the 3-digit number?
- Should Canadians be able to send text messages directly to the 3-digit number?
See the Notice of Consultation for more details.
What we heard
The consultation was open from June 3, 2021 to September 1, 2021. Take a look at the comments shared:
- Interventions (comments we received online, by mail and by fax)
- 3-digit suicide prevention hotline gets green light from House of Commons External link
- 9-1-1 Services
Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 0N2
Toll-free 1 (877) 249-CRTC (2782)
TTY (819) 994-0423
- Date modified: