The 2021 CFL schedule was released Nov. 20, 2020. Without a focus on the Grey Cup in 2020, the schedule was able to be released earlier than the previous earliest known release date of a schedule, the 1983 version released on Nov. 24, 1982 (thanks Tim!).
This is the fourth consecutive year the schedule has been released in the year prior to the season following the 2020 CFL release on Dec. 16, 2019, 2019 release on Dec. 20, 2018 and the 2018 schedule was released Dec. 14, 2017.
Previously, the CFL schedule was released by mid-February. The schedule was published in February in ten out of the eleven years spanning 2007-2017 (Feb. 28 in 2007, Feb. 21 in 2008, Feb. 3 in 2009, Feb. 1 in 2010, Feb. 18 in 2011, Feb. 17 in 2012, March 5 in 2013, Feb. 12 in 2014, Feb. 13 in 2015, Feb. 18 in 2016 and Feb. 7 in 2017).
For quick reference, see the CFL's calendar site.
For further options, check out the CFLdb schedules page which provides a number of resources and links for the CFL schedule, including iCal format or printable league and team schedules. Printed schedules are also usually available from team ticket offices by training camp each year.
For the CFL schedule on your smartphone, the following options are available:
The CFL currently plays 18 games per team in the regular season, nine games each at home and away. With nine teams in the league this equates to 81 total games per regular season; including the pre-season, playoffs and Grey Cup championship the current schedule rounds out at 95 games. The season takes approximately 6 months from late May to the third Sunday of November, with 1 month for training camp/pre-season, 21 weeks for the regular season and 3 weeks for the playoffs and Grey Cup championship.
As is current, there were 81-game regular season games when the league consisted of nine teams (1986, 1993, 1996, 2002–2005, 2014–present), 72 games with eight teams (1987–1992, 1997–2001, 2006–2013), 108 games in a 12-team loop (1994), and 117 games when there was 13 teams (1995), all with an 18-game schedule.
The CFL increased the amount of regular season games from 16 to 18 in 1986. A 16-game regular season schedule was in place from 1974 to 1985, for a total of 72 regular season games. During this time a four game pre-season schedule was used. The pre-season schedule was reduced to two games per team with the introduction of the expanded 18-game regular season schedule and continues to be used today.
Prior to 1974 the Eastern Conference played only 14 regular season games while the Western Conference played 16, a practice they began in 1952.
In 2021, teams will not play every team from the other division both at home and on the road (full interlocking schedule). The reduced inter-division games will be made up with intra-division games.
Full interlocking play began in 1981. Partial interlocking play did not begin until 1961. Prior to that, east-west cross-country play occurred only in the pre-season. For example, the BC Lions franchise pre-season debut at home occurred against the Montreal Alouettes on August 11, 1954.