British Columbia’s fourth area code, 236, will be introduced next month, after demand for new phone numbers exploded with the use of smartphones and wireless devices.
The CRTC will implement the 236 area code across the province on June 1, said a statement from the Western Telecommunications Alliance, which represents major telephone companies across Canada.
"In areas where there is still a sufficient supply of 604, 778 and 250 numbers, they will continue to be given out as long as they are available," the statement said.
"Where they are no longer available or where a customer chooses, after June 1, people and businesses receiving a new phone number may get one with the 236 code," it added.
While residential users don’t need to make any changes to their equipment, businesses that restrict long distance calls will need to reprogram their equipment to accept the 236 area code as local, the group said.
Until 1996, 604 was the only area code in British Columbia. At that time, 250 was introduced to serve the area outside the Greater Vancouver area.
In 2001, area code 778 and 10-digit dialing were introduced in the Greater Vancouver area, before being extended across the province in 2008.
Officials have already set aside another area code 672 for future expansion in B.C.