Switch your primary email from an internet provider email like rogers.com, sympatico.ca, or cogeco.ca

When you sign up for internet service with a provider like Rogers, Bell, Cogeco, Primus, or other providers here in Canada, they tell you to set up an email address on their service. You end up with an address like firstlast@rogers.com or myname@sympatico.ca. That’s fine for dealing with the services from that provider. But don’t use that email for communicating with others.

Why? Because when you move from that provider to another provider, you may lose access to past emails and you have to let everyone know about your new email address. This may be difficult if you can’t access the past emails.

If you think you won’t move providers, I assure you this will happen, even if it is when you move to a retirement community where they provide internet access. That’s why you need a primary email address that is not connected to an internet provider.

What email addresses do I recommend? The two I suggest you consider are Gmail or Outlook (the email address, not the app). Gmail is provided by Google and Outlook is provided by Microsoft. You can use these email addresses regardless of how you access the internet.

If you’ve been using one of the internet provider email addresses for a while now, here are the steps to move to a Gmail or Outlook email address.

Set up your Gmail or Outlook email address

If you have a Google account for Google Photos, maps, your Android phone, or any other Google service, you already have a Gmail account set up. For most people this will be the easiest route since they are already set up with this email address. If you want to use the Microsoft Outlook service, sign up for an email address with them.

Set your emails apps to use this new email address

On your computer and your mobile devices like phones and tablets, set up this email address and change it to be the primary address you use to send emails. This way any replies will start to come to the new email address.

Send a change of email address notice

Gather all the email addresses you can think of for friends and family. Write an email asking them to update their contact information for you with your new email address. This will get a number of them to start sending you emails at this new address.

Set up automatic forwarding from your provider email address

Log in to your provider’s webmail portal or account settings and set up a rule for all your email. Forward all incoming emails to your new email address and keep a copy of the email in the provider’s system. This way you receive emails to your new address when people still use your old address.

Change your email address with utilities and other services

You have likely signed up for email bills from utilities, access to information from health care providers, and access to other services using your internet provider email address. Use the customer service system for the utility or service provider to change the email address on file to your new email address. For any online services such as Netflix or Amazon, update your email address there too using their account profile settings.

Schedule a check of emails every six months

After six months, and every six months after you make the change, log in to the internet service provider webmail portal to see who is still sending you email to the former address. If they are newsletters, unsubscribe and subscribe from your new address. If they are individuals, send them a reminder email to update their contact information for you.


With an email address that is not tied to a specific internet service provider, you give your self flexibility for the future. You have email that you can easily access from any device and regardless of how you access the internet. If you’ve been using an email address tied to an internet service provider, start now to switch to a Gmail or Outlook email address.

Need help doing this?

If you are in the west GTA and want someone to help you switch you internet provider email to a more flexible email address from Google or Microsoft, get in touch and we can discuss how I might be able to help.