Canadian Wireless Carriers Launch Stolen Cellphone Database; CRTC Applauds Move


cwta protect yourself

The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) and our wireless carriers have announced plans to launch a database to track devices to fight stolen phones from being resold and reused:

By September 30, 2013, the authorization of any GSM or LTE wireless device on any Canadian network will include verification that the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number of the device has not been reported lost or stolen on any Canadian network, as well as some international networks that are available in the GSMA IMEI database.

This new device verification process, which will deny service to any device that is on the GSMA “blacklist”, is designed to help eliminate the black market for stolen devices in Canada and abroad by reducing the value of smartphones in the eyes of criminals.

Once a customer reports a lost or stolen cellphone to their carrier, the latter will add the device’s IMEI to the blacklist.

This is fantastic news for consumers as ‘iCrime’ related to stolen iPhones and other smartphones have dramatically risen over the years. Below is a video as part of a new website created to provide info on this new initiative from

Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) issued the following statement after hearing about the CWTA announcement: 

“Today, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) unveiled a series of initiatives to combat the black market for lost or stolen cellphones. On behalf of the CRTC, I would like to congratulate Bernard Lord, President and CEO of the CWTA, for having rallied the wireless industry around this important issue.

Do recall the CRTC Chairman threatened he would use regulations to force carriers to go through with a cellphone registry back in early October. Carriers argued the creation of a registry would be expensive and did not want to share proprietary handset info with each other. The U.S. launched their cellphone registry to protect consumers at the end of October.

Thoughts on the launch of this cellphone database to track lost or stolen phones?


  • wahgee

    This is great! Our iPhone 4S was stolen at Pacific Mall in Markham in late December 2011. Needless to say, I had a very upset wife on the flight back to Vancouver. Wish the registry was available then. I am still optimistic the phone will turn up one day as it was reported to York Police.

  • Its about time! Realistically one of the reasons they didn’t want it is added revenue from the stolen phone being reactivated on the network. Now there is less incentive to buy a stolen phone. Ideally there would be a front facing way for a consumer to query the site when buying a used device, like a carfax

  • K3

    are US and Canadian databases shared?

  • Don’t know about that yet.

  • Brian

    Possibly. I just fear that they’ll use this as a tool to prevent people from using their own unlocked devices and force them to buy new ones directly from the carriers.

    “We ask consumers to reconsider buying phones on sites like eBay, Craigslist, or Kijiji and instead buy their devices from a verified dealer,” Telus spokesman Shawn Hall said.

    I can picture it now. “Sorry, but that phone is on our black list. But if you sign up for a 3 year contract right now, we’ll give you a new carrier-locked phone at a discount”

  • Patrick

    Which brings up the interesting question as to whether you’d be able to retroactively register the theft and have any current user get booted.

  • K3

    cant see it mentioned on other threads-another cydia app made it on to iTunes. (intelliscreenx)

  • Ottawan

    By rights it should be a global registry, but there’s really no one who would take up the management of it.

  • Ryan

    Funny, I saw a clip on the news that lately women have been targeted for their cell phone in the Toronto area. Thought to myself, I should make a database. I see that the launch of this one should be today. To continue on my thoughts of making said database or see how the one by the carriers go…

  • brownjr

    seek with IMEI – the most reliable way. there are also a lot of any services where can see IMEI of lost / stolen phone