Southwestern Ontario introducing new 548 area code

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How many phones do you have?

Work phone, personal cell, land line at home and at work, maybe?

All that technology is driving the need for a new area code for Southwestern Ontario, set to be introduced in June 2016.

519 and 226, meet 548.

“We have increased local competition and an explosion of technology,” said Glen Brown, a spokesperson for the Canadian Numbering Administrator (yes, that’s a thing).

Brown’s organization is behind assigning new area codes and phone numbers — as well as 10-digit dialing — across the country.

“If you think about it, all of a sudden, how many phone numbers am I responsible for, between my work cell, my personal cell, a land line at home, at work, my iPad, the school my child goes to, the church, the store — it’s no longer one number for an entire house or business,” Brown said.

The theoretical maximum of the current 10-digit format is 7.5 million phone numbers, he said.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) directs the work of the Canadian Numbering Administrator.

The new area code will co-exist with current area codes and will be introduced as new numbers are issued by phone companies, Brown said.

“On an annual basis, we get data from all the phone carriers in the country as to how many (area codes) they will need, and we do a projection. We then look at the expected exhaust date and plan accordingly,” Brown said.

The 548 area code will be used in communities where 519 and 226 are currently used — from Windsor to London, Sarnia to Kitchener-Waterloo.


  • Calling 911 remains the same
  • Calling locally stays the same — enter the area code and the seven-digit number.


  • In 2006, Ontario got 10-digit dialing.
  • In 1947, there were two area codes in Ontario: 613 and 416.
  • The 519 area code came into existence in 1953.

When someone dies, their number is put into the “aging and disconnected pool.” The number can be reassigned within one to three months if it’s a cell or residential land line, and three to 12 months if it’s a business land line (according to CRTC guidelines).