How to use Google Voice in Canada.

Many thanks to Ross Craig on Twitter for this. I’m more or less reblogging a very handy guide from — and a particularly helpful commenter there.

If you didn’t know what Google Voice was (forgivable since it’s not supposed to be available in this country yet), here’s a quick intro straight from the source:

Note that for Canadians this isn’t yet a viable solution for outbound calling — we’ve been able to do that from Gmail using a desktop browser for some time now.

Still interested? You’ll need a proxy server to sign up, but getting a working account is possible only because of some glitch in Google’s registration software that accepts numbers from the 403 area code in Alberta. And as luck would have it, non-Albertans can secure such a number using this free service. Note that you’ll have to forward your 403 number to a somewhere where you can actually be reached, potentially opening up that phone line to unsolicited calls.

If you’re comfortable with that the steps that follow are:

  1. Install FoxyProxy.
  2. Configure it with one of the proxies listed here.
  3. With your proxy enabled, go to the Google Voice registration page. Enter your 403 area code number when prompted.
  4. Verify and enjoy. Once you’re properly set up you’ll no longer have to use a proxy to log in.

I should point out that Google Voice, like Skype, is a service that runs on proprietary software — at least some of it purchased through the company’s acquisitions of GrandCentral and Gizmo5. There are alternative, FOSS solutions based on the session initation protocol, or SIP. I’ll be writing more about that when I figure it all out…


  1. It seems nearly impossible to get a number with the 403 area code now. I have a Gmail/Google Voice account without a registered number and I occasionally check to see if any 403 area codes are available but there are none. Maybe all the 403 area codes are taken? This sucks.

  2. Jason, you misunderstood… you can’t get a 403 number from Google Voice, you can just use your 403 number to receive calls. You will need to choose an american number to use as your new Google Voice number. It is mostly useful for texting and calling people in the USA.

  3. I thought once you do all the proper proxy stuff and buy a temporary us number.You can make all calls be forwarded to any area code in Canada.

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