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Canada SMS messaging regulations and restrictions

Ensure you understand the relevant regulations before sending messages in Canada. All programs are required to be compliant with the regulations outlined in Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation. Your program also needs to comply with the specific country laws, guidelines, and mobile operator policies that continue to evolve and are subject to change without prior notice.

Non-compliant messages may result in your program being blocked and filtered by major carrier networks in Canada.

Clickatell recommends the use of a short code for optimal delivery for A2P (application-to-person) messaging use cases. When using a long number, we recommend that you send no more than one message per second, and avoid any bulk or burst SMS programs. Should you require a higher sending frequency, please contact our sales team for more options.

 

Restriction Description
DND exists No
Time restrictions No
International vs local split No
Local traffic N/A
International traffic N/A
General content restrictions For services or applications involving, but not limited to, alcohol, tobacco, and adult content, your program must verify that each end-user is of legal age in his/her province or territory of residence, prior to allowing them to participate in the program or receive a text message from your service. These programs should not be marketed to individuals under the legal age.
Content registration required No
Opt-out instructions required End-users must opt in to your service. Unsolicited messages may and will not be sent to end-users. Explicit opt-in consent is required before marketing messages may be sent to end-users. Users on the Do Not Call registry may not be contacted.      
Sender ID regulations Sender IDs are overwritten with local short codes and (+1) long codes
Sender ID documentation required N/A
Country supports MNP Yes

New legislation from the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) will go into effect on November 13th, 2022. Starting December 1st, 2022, Aegis will begin testing keywords to ensure they are adhering to these requirements. 

The requirement is that the following five (5) Mandatory Keywords must be implemented on your campaigns. Below is a summary of the requirements – refer to the linked document (specifically pages 20-22) for more details.

Note: All keywords must always be written in CAPITAL LETTERS in all media.

Keyword Detail
STOP
  • Whenever STOP is sent as a keyword in a Mobile Originating (MO) message, the Content Provider must:
    • For subscription services, send one (1) Mobile Terminating (MT) message stating that the consumer will no longer receive messages in connection to all services running on the short code;
    • For non-subscription services (one-time use), send one (1) MT message stating that the service is not a subscription; and
    • Stop sending messages of any kind to that consumer unless the consumer initiates the service again.
  • Additionally, the <STOP> keyword:
    • Must return an English response.
    • Must apply to all programs including one-time use programs.
    • Must immediately opt out the consumer.
ARRET
  • This keyword will return the same information and have the same effect as <STOP> but the one (1) MT response must be in French.
HELP
  • Must contain the following information in one (1) English MT message:
    • Customer Service contact info (email, phone, URL).
      • When a URL is included as a method of contact for customer service, if the webpage cannot be translated to English, a language denotation must be included next to the URL, e.g., https://www.cwta.ca/fr/ [FR]
    • Cost and message frequency of the program.
    • Opt-out/unsubscribe information using <STOP>.
    • Identity of the program sponsor by company name and a short description of the program.
AIDE
  • This keyword will return the same information and have the same effect as <HELP> but the one (1) MT response must be in French.
  • When a URL is included as a method of contact for customer service, if the webpage cannot be translated to French, a language denotation must be included next to the URL, e.g., https://www.cwta.ca/ [EN].
INFO
  • The following information must be included by the Content Provider in one (1) bilingual (English & French) MT message:
    • The Content Provider (or Aggregator’s) company name.
    • Customer service contact information (email, URL, and/or phone).
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