09/30/2013 04:48 EDT | Updated 11/30/2013 05:12 EST

Stolen phones blacklist launches in Canada

Cellphones, tablets and other wireless devices that have been reported lost or stolen can no longer be activated — and therefore used — on most wireless networks in Canada, following the launch of a new national “blacklist” of such devices Monday.

Starting today, most Canadian wireless service providers, including all members of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, will start checking whether a device is blacklisted on an international database of lost and stolen devices before activating it, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association announced in a news release.

Members of the association will also begin adding phones reported lost or stolen by customers to the international database starting today.

The IMEI database contains unique identifiers, known as International Mobile Equipment Identity numbers, for devices using GSM, HSPA, HSPA+ and LTE technology that have been reported lost or stolen around the world.

Devices using other technologies, such as the CDMA technology used by Public Mobile's network, do not have an IMEI and cannot be included in the database.

Bernard Lord, president of the association, said in a statement that the new national blacklist will msmartphoneselp Canadian consumers identify pre-owned

The association has launched a new website called where consumers can enter the IMEI of a device to find out if it has been blacklisted.

Only phones reported stolen or missing to Canadian wireless carriers starting Sept. 30, 2013, are included in the national database.

Ashlee Smith, a spokeswoman for the CWTA, said those who have had a phone lost or stolen before today should "absolutely" contact their wireless carrier to get it added to the database, but it's up to individual carriers how to deal with that.

Consumers can find out whether their carrier is a member of the association by checking the CWTA's online buyer's guide. 

Before today, individual carriers kept their own databases of lost and stolen phones and would not activate those phones on their own networks. However, the phones could be taken to another wireless service provider and activated.