Messaging • Last Updated 1/25/2024

Texting Canada: Your guide for SMS communication

This guide provides helpful tips for texting in Canada. Learn how to send text messages to Canada and avoid common mistakes.

By Adeniyi Makinde

Whether you're connecting with family, friends, or business associates in Canada, understanding the nuances of SMS communication in this diverse country is key. Sending text messages (also called SMS) to Canada is easy, but it requires attention to detail to ensure your message gets delivered. This guide provides you with all the necessary information for effective texting, from phone number formatting to which country codes to use to compliance with local regulations.

Sending a text to Canada

Canadian phone numbers are typically composed of 10 digits, including a three-digit area code and a seven-digit local number. Familiarizing yourself with this format is crucial for ensuring your messages are delivered accurately.

Canadian phone number formatting

The standard format for Canadian phone numbers includes the country code +1, followed by the three-digit area code, and then the seven-digit local number. For example, a number in Toronto might be formatted as +1 416 123 4567.

Canadian country code

When texting someone in Canada, it's important to include the country code +1. This signals to the mobile network that the message is intended for a recipient in Canada. You can add the country code by holding down the "0" key until a "+" symbol appears, or type "001" before the Canadian phone number.

Once you’ve formatted the Canadian phone number correctly, you can enter it into the "Recipient" field on your messaging app and send your message. Again, including the country code is essential. Otherwise, your message may not be delivered to the recipient in Canada.

Staying compliant while texting Canada

Compliance with Canadian SMS regulations is important, especially for commercial messaging. Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) governs the sending of electronic messages.

Here are highlights of that legislation designed to protect consumers or message recipients:

Consent requirement

CASL mandates that senders must obtain either express or implied consent before sending commercial electronic messages (CEMs). Express consent is explicitly given by the recipient and does not expire, though it can be withdrawn at any time. Implied consent may exist in certain situations, like an existing business relationship.

Identification and unsubscribe mechanisms

Senders are required to clearly identify themselves and their organization in any CEM. They must also provide a straightforward and no-cost mechanism for recipients to unsubscribe from future messages. This ensures transparency and gives recipients control over the communications they receive.

Applicability and scope

The legislation applies to a wide range of electronic messages sent from or received in Canada, including emails, texts, and messages sent via social media platforms. It covers not only commercial entities but also extends to government bodies, political parties, and non-profit organizations under certain conditions.

Five steps to send a text to Canada

When texting in Canada, consider the local time zone and cultural nuances. Send messages during appropriate hours and use a respectful and clear tone. Be aware of the language preferences of your recipients—English and French are both widely used in Canada.

  1. Inspect the number to ensure it's in the correct format.

  2. Make sure to include Canada’s country code (+1).

  3. Input the correctly-formatted number into the "Recipient" field.

  4. Ensure your message complies with any local or international regulations when sending texts to Canada.

  5. Compose and send your message.

Best practices for texting Canadian numbers

In Canada, businesses must comply with the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) when sending SMS messages. This law requires explicit consent from recipients before sending commercial electronic messages. It's crucial for businesses to maintain records of this consent to avoid legal issues.

Regarding messaging content, it's best to send SMS messages during standard waking hours, typically between 8am and 9pm local time. Messages should be concise and clear, adhering to the 160-character limit of standard SMS. This ensures messages are direct and respect the recipient's time.

Choosing the right greeting for your text message to Canada

When texting in Canada, the choice of greeting in your message is a key factor in its success. The greeting sets the initial tone of the conversation and helps in building a connection with the recipient. It's important to choose a greeting that is appropriate for both the context and the audience.

For formal messages, such as business communications, a greeting like "Dear [Name]" or "Hello [Name]" is suitable. For example, “Dear Jordan,” or “Hello Claire.” These greetings are professional and respectful, aiding in establishing trust and credibility with the recipient.

In informal contexts, greetings such as "Hi," "Hey," or the more colloquial "Hello there" are more appropriate. These are conversational and friendly, ideal for building rapport and creating a sense of familiarity.

The relationship between the sender and the recipient also plays a role in choosing the right greeting. A more informal greeting is fitting for existing customers or acquaintances, whereas a formal greeting is better for new contacts or professional relationships.

Text Canada: How to get started

With these tips and recommendations, you're ready to send SMS messages to Canada with confidence. Whether you're sending a personal message or business communication, understanding the formatting and regulatory compliance is essential to ensure your message gets delivered.

If you’re looking for more guidance on global texting, Telnyx’s team of experts can help you navigate the complexities of international communication. Telnyx is a next-gen communications platform that offers a global private IP network, multi-cloud redundancy, and carrier-grade services. Our developer-friendly SMS API and intelligent features make it easy to build messaging capabilities into your existing apps. We also offer support and guidance to help you grow and scale your business.

With competitive pricing and a wide variety of phone numbers in over 140 countries, Telnyx provides cost-effective messaging solutions with unmatched expertise. Our deliverability reports help businesses optimize their messaging campaigns, while easy implementation and a complete set of features make it easy to get started.

Contact our experts today to learn how we can help your business communicate effectively with contacts in Canada and 140+ other countries.

Note: This is not legal advice. Consult your legal team and the appropriate regulatory authorities before beginning an SMS message campaign in Canada.
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