OTTAWA-GATINEAU, April 2, 2012 — Today, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) concluded a five-month investigation and took enforcement action against 85 companies for breaking the telemarketing rules. This investigation marks the latest step in the CRTC’s efforts, using a variety of enforcement strategies, to reduce unwanted calls made to Canadians.
The CRTC issued citations to 74 telemarketers who had failed to register with the National Do Not Call List operator or subscribe to the National Do Not Call List. Notices of violation were issued to an additional 11 companies for more significant breaches. Administrative monetary penalties totalling $41,000 were imposed on those 11 companies. In setting the penalty amounts, the CRTC recognized that many of these telemarketers are small businesses.
“Today’s announcement should serve as a reminder that registering as a telemarketer is a basic requirement,” said Andrea Rosen, the CRTC’s Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer. “Anyone making telemarketing calls to Canadians while not registered and subscribed to the list is strongly encouraged to come into compliance as soon as possible."
The CRTC applies the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules in order to reduce unwanted calls to Canadians. According to its enforcement process, the CRTC can take corrective action with telemarketers, issue warnings and citations, conduct inspections and issue notices of violation. To date, the CRTC’s efforts have yielded over $2.1 million in penalties and over $740,000 in payments to post-secondary institutions.
About the National Do Not Call ListThe National Do Not Call List was launched in 2008 to protect Canadians from unsolicited telemarketing calls and faxes. Canadians may register on the National Do Not Call at no charge or file a complaint about a telemarketer by calling 1-866-580-DNCL (3625) or visiting www.lnnte-dncl.gc.ca. Over 10.6 million numbers are currently registered on the list.
The CRTC is an independent public authority that regulates and supervises broadcasting and telecommunications in Canada.
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The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is responsible for enforcing the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules and administering the National Do Not Call List (DNCL) in order to reduce unwanted telemarketing calls to Canadians. All telemarketers must register with the National DNCL operator. In addition, they must purchase a subscription to the National DNCL, unless the organization is making telemarketing calls that are exempt from the rules.
The CRTC conducts investigations to ensure that telemarketers adhere to the rules and, if not, has the power to impose administrative monetary penalties. The maximum penalty is $1,500 for an individual and $15,000 for a corporation, for each violation. Various enforcement measures may bring telemarketers into compliance, including the following:
The CRTC may issue a citation notifying a telemarketer that it has violated the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules and requiring immediate corrective action. The telemarketer is provided with an opportunity to claim a defence or exemption within 14 days of the issuance of the citation. The CRTC then publishes the citation 30 days after issuance unless a valid claim is made, in which case the citation is revoked. Citations are often issued in cases where the number of violations is low.
Notices of violation
When a telemarketer has been found in breach of the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules, the CRTC may issue a notice that identifies the violation and sets out the monetary penalty. A copy of the investigation report is provided to the telemarketer, who then has the option to either make a written representation to the CRTC or pay the penalty set out in the notice. Notices of violation are issued in cases where the scope of the conduct is wider in nature.
After a notice of violation is issued, telemarketers may request that their written representations be reviewed by a panel of Commissioners. The panel decides whether, based on both the evidence obtained by the CRTC and representations submitted by telemarketers, a violation was committed and, if so, whether the monetary penalty is appropriate. If the panel finds that a violation was committed, it can then decide to impose the monetary penalty or reduce the amount. If the panel determines that a violation was not committed, no monetary penalty is imposed. The CRTC then issues a decision.