Canada short code checklist

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Learn what information you need to provide when requesting a Canadian short code. 

This advice is for informational purposes only and is neither intended as nor should be substituted for consultation with appropriate legal counsel and/or your organization’s regulatory compliance team.

Before you begin

Please note the following:

  • The information below only applies to Canadian short codes 
  • Canadian short code applications take 12–16 weeks for carriers approvals 
  • Not all businesses are eligible for a short code
  • If approved, short codes are only good for Canada; they won’t work in any other country 
  • Currently, MMS is not supported on Canadian short codes 
Learn about the short code application process

If you want a short code, you must apply and be approved. The goal of the short code application process is to communicate to wireless carriers how a brand will use a short code. 

In Canada, short code compliance involves wireless carriers and the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA). Note that carrier policies are often unpublished and only known through interactions with the carriers during the application process. These policies are also subject to change. Klaviyo stays informed of current requirements; however, changes to your short code application or mockups may be requested at any time to maintain compliance. 

Klaviyo works to avoid rejections or the need for re-review by vetting applications before they are sent to carriers. If a wireless carrier rejects a program, you may be able to modify it to meet the carrier’s requirements. Once the changes have been made, the program can be resubmitted to the carrier. However, resubmissions aren’t prioritized ahead of first-time applications, so the second review may result in delays in launching the short code.

Canadian short code checklist 

The goal of the short code application process is to demonstrate how your brand plans to use a short code. Thus, wireless carriers ask you to provide specific information. 

Review this checklist to make sure you have met all the requirements:

  1. Pick your top 3 short codes
  2. Collect your company and contact information
  3. Prepare examples of the messages you plan to send
  4. Explain your SMS opt-in process step-by-step  
  5. Add the hours in which you plan to send SMS
  6. Provide your estimated sending volume 
  7. Include your sending frequency 
  8. Recommended: review your mobile terms of service and privacy policy
  9. Recommended: include any subscribe keywords you want to use

Pick your top 3 short codes

As part of your Canadian short code application process, you must submit the 3 short codes that you would like to have. They must be in order, with the first short code being the one you want the most. 

The short code must also be available; you can’t use one that someone else is already using. Check if the short code you want is open by searching for available Canadian short codes.

Collect your company and contact information

Gather information regarding your business, point of contact, and contact details to provide to wireless carriers, including: 

  • Company name
  • Company's website URL
    • If you have a URL specific to your short code program, provide that
    • Otherwise, enter your main company website URL
  • Company physical or mailing address
  • Tax ID
  • Primary contact name
  • Primary contact phone number
  • Support phone number
  • Support email address

Specify the types of messages you plan to send

Wireless carriers want to know how you plan to use your short code and what type of messages you’ll send. Below are the most common types:

  • Promotional — provides marketing, advertising, coupons or deals highlighting the latest products, services, discounts, events, and upcoming offers
  • Transactional — sends alerts, notifications, etc. (if any promotional content is in the message, it loses its transactional classification)
  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA) - provides an extra layer of security verification

Prepare examples of the messages you plan to send

You need 3 example SMS messages. In these messages, include the following:

  • An example of the type of message you plan to send using your short code; examples must be representative of actual messages that you plan to send with the short code
  • Mandatory compliance elements: 
    • Program name
    • Call-to-action
    • Details on how to get help, such as “Text HELP for help”
    • Opt-out language, such as “Text STOP to opt out”
    • “Std. Msg&Data rates may apply”

Explain your SMS opt-in process step-by-step

Sending text messages to someone who hasn’t explicitly agreed to them is illegal in Canada. Due to this, wireless carriers want to understand your opt-in process. 

Requirements:

  1. Share all the ways you plan to collect consent, such as:
    • Having recipients text your number
    • Using a popup, click-to-text, or embed form
    • Checking a box at checkout
  2. Add any disclosure language [LINK] you use when collecting SMS consent
  3. Provide a step-by-step explanation for each opt-in method
Example of a step-by-step explanation

For example, if you use a multi-step popup form, the steps may be:

  1. A user goes to my website
  2. User sees a popup form with a first name, last name, and email input fields as well as a button to sign up for email
  3. User fills out their information 
  4. User clicks “Sign me up for email alerts” 
  5. User is taken to another page that includes: 
    • A phone number field
    • Disclosure language with links to my mobile terms of service and privacy policy
    • A button to sign up for SMS
  6. User inputs their phone number
  7. User clicks “I want text alerts”
  8. User receives a text to confirm they want to opt in
  9. User texts “Yes” to confirm they want to be an SMS subscriber
  10. User receives a welcome message from my number

Prepare examples of your opt-in options

Just as you need examples of the types of messages you plan to send, you also need to provide examples of the opt-in methods you’re using. You can take screenshots of your live signup forms or prepare mockups that you plan to put in place. 

In these examples, you must show: 

  • Disclosure language that includes the following information about your short code program: 
    • Service description and name
    • Message and data rates may apply
    • Message frequency (e.g., “Message frequency varies”)
    • Links to your short code program terms of service and your privacy policy (e.g., “Terms of Service: <URL to SMS terms of service>. Privacy Policy: <URL to privacy policy>”)
  • The full web page where the mockups will be 
    • This is so carriers can review the placement of the opt-in option with the same context a user will have
  • That the opt-in for SMS is optional
    • For signup forms, show that the form can be closed (e.g., with an “x” at the top)
    • For checkboxes, include “optional” or “I optionally agree to receive” in the opt-in language

Add the hours in which you plan to send SMS

You must include the hours in which you plan to send SMS. As a general best practice, you should only send SMS messages between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. in the recipient’s local time. For flows, we recommend using quiet hours to stay within this timeframe. 

However, depending on your specific use case, the hours may vary. Add in any hours when you plan to send SMS.

Provide your estimated sending volume

Include an estimate of your sending volume per day, week, or month (whichever timeframe works best for you). Further, detail how you got to that estimate. 

In this estimate, consider:

  • How many SMS subscribers you have 
  • Your average list growth
  • The number of flow messages that you send
  • How many campaigns you send per month and the number of subscribers typically included in your campaigns
  • The number of people who unsubscribe or are suppressed due to list cleaning

Include your sending frequency

Add in how many times per month you plan to send SMS messages out. 

Examples of sending frequencies include: 

  • Daily
  • Weekly
  • Monthly
  • Frequency varies

Recommended: review your terms of service and privacy policy

While not required for Canada’s short code application, we recommend auditing your mobile terms of service and privacy policy. 

For instance, check that your terms of service describes your SMS program, how to opt in, how to opt out, where to get help. 

Recommended: include any subscribe keywords you want to use

While not required, it's a best practice to inform Klaviyo about any subscribe keyword you are using (except for JOIN) or plan to use. 

The reason for this best practice is that if wireless carriers ever audit your short code program, having your keywords on file can help protect you. 

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