Toll-free numbers in Canada are designated by the prefix 1-800, 1-888, 1-877, 1-866, and 1-855. These numbers allow callers to contact businesses without incurring any charges. The business that owns the toll-free number is charged for the incoming calls, making it a cost-effective communication option for customers.

1. How do toll-free numbers work in Canada?

Toll-free numbers in Canada are widely used by businesses to provide a convenient means for customers to reach them. When a customer calls a toll-free number with the prefix 1-800, 1-888, 1-877, 1-866, or 1-855, the call is routed through the telecommunications network, and the business that owns the toll-free number is charged for the incoming call. This setup allows customers to contact businesses without incurring any charges themselves.

Regulatory Authority: Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)

2. Are there any charges associated with calling toll-free numbers in Canada?

For callers within Canada, calls made to toll-free numbers (1-800, 1-888, 1-877, 1-866, and 1-855) are entirely free. The business that owns the toll-free number is responsible for bearing the costs of these incoming calls. As a result, customers can make inquiries, seek support, or make purchases without worrying about call charges.

3. Are toll-free numbers universally free from all networks in Canada?

Yes, toll-free numbers with the prefixes 1-800, 1-888, 1-877, 1-866, and 1-855 are universally free from all landline and mobile phone networks in Canada. This means that customers can call toll-free numbers from any network without incurring any charges.

4. How are toll-free calls billed for mobile users in Canada?

Toll-free calls from mobile phones are typically free for customers who are on monthly plans with inclusive minutes. However, if a customer has used up their monthly allocated minutes or if they are on a pay-as-you-go plan, the call may become chargeable. It is crucial for mobile users to monitor their call allowances and ensure they have sufficient minutes before making a toll-free call to avoid any unexpected charges.

5. Can toll-free numbers be accessed from abroad in Canada?

Toll-free numbers in Canada are primarily designed for domestic callers and may not be accessible from abroad. Calling a Canadian toll-free number from another country could result in an international call charge for the caller. Additionally, some toll-free numbers may not be reachable from certain foreign networks or regions. Therefore, businesses should consider providing alternative non-toll-free contact options for international callers. You can also utilise our in-app or click-to-call service if you wish to provide global toll-free calling to customers.

Real-World Example:

Let’s consider a scenario where a customer in Canada needs to inquire about a product from a company’s customer service department. The company provides a toll-free helpline with a 1-800 number. The customer dials the toll-free number from their mobile phone, which is on a monthly plan with inclusive minutes. In this case, the customer will not incur any charges for the call, as it is covered within their monthly allowance. The business will be responsible for the call costs.

Practical Tips:

  • Check your mobile phone plan: Ensure you have inclusive minutes available before calling a toll-free number to avoid unexpected charges.
  • International callers: If you are calling from abroad, use alternative contact numbers provided by the business, as toll-free numbers may not be accessible internationally.
  • Non-toll-free options: Businesses should consider offering alternative non-toll-free contact numbers for customers who may prefer non-geographic or international calling options.


Toll-free numbers play a crucial role in facilitating efficient and cost-free communication between businesses and customers in Canada. While toll-free calls are generally free for callers within the country, there may be exceptions based on the caller’s mobile plan and international calling scenarios. Businesses should be aware of these nuances and provide clear communication to customers about the accessibility and potential charges associated with toll-free numbers. By understanding the dynamics of toll-free calls, both businesses and customers can take full advantage of this valuable communication tool.