Rules for unsolicited telecommunications made on behalf of political entities

This fact sheet summarizes the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules (the Rules) for unsolicited telecommunications made by or for political entities, including riding associations, candidates and their official campaigns.

The Rules include the:

  • National Do Not Call List (DNCL) Rules (Part II),
  • Telemarketing Rules (Part III), and
  • Automatic Dialing-Announcing Device (ADAD) Rules (Part IV).Footnote 1

Communications made by or for political entities are exempt from the National DNCL Rules, but the Telemarketing Rules and the ADAD Rules may apply.

Definitions

  • “Automatic Dialing-Announcing Device” or “ADAD” means any automatic equipment capable of storing or producing telecommunications numbers. This equipment may be used alone or with other equipment to send a pre-recorded or synthesized voice message to a phone number. ADAD calls are also known as “robocalls.”
  • “Candidate” means a candidate as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Canada Elections Act or a candidate whose nomination has been confirmed, for the purposes of a provincial or municipal election, by a political party that is registered under provincial law.
  • “Solicitation” means sales or promotion of a product or service, or requests for money or money's worth, directly or indirectly, on behalf of another person or group.

Information about live voice calls

The Telemarketing Rules do not apply to live voice calls that are not made for the purpose of solicitation.

For example, if an exempt political party or candidate, or an organization representing such a party or candidate, calls people to learn about voter preferences or to inform people about the location of polling stations, the Telemarketing Rules do not apply.Footnote 2

The Telemarketing Rules do apply, however, to calls that are made for the purpose of solicitation.

For example, if an exempt political party or candidate, or an organization representing such a party or candidate, calls people to request campaign donations, the Telemarketing Rules apply (see below for a sample of the relevant rules).

The National DNCL Rules do not apply to any calls made on behalf of exempt political entities. Accordingly, exempt political parties and candidates are not required to purchase a subscription to the National DNCL and can call people whose numbers are registered on the list.

Relevant Telemarketing Rules

See the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules, Part III. This section describes some of the Telemarketing Rules that apply when a call is made for the purpose of solicitation:

Curfew (Part III, sections 23 and 24)

Calls can only be made from 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on weekdays (Monday to Friday) and 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekends (Saturday and Sunday) unless provincial legislation specifies more restrictive hours.

Identification information (Part III, section 16 and Part III, section 31)

  • The call must begin with the name or fictitious name of the individual making the call, the name of the telemarketer and the name of the political entity on whose behalf the call is made (if different from the telemarketer’s name).
  • The telemarketer must provide a local or toll-free number upon request. This number, when called, must provide access to an employee or another representative of the telemarketer so the caller can ask questions, make comments about the call, or make a do-not-call request. Also, upon request, the name and email or postal address of an employee or another representative of the telemarketer must be provided. 
  • The screen on the called-person’s phone must display a number where the telemarketer can be reached, except where number display is unavailable for technical reasons.
  • The contact information must remain valid for a minimum of sixty (60) days.

Sequential dialing (Part III, section 26)

Sequential dialing is prohibited.

Emergency lines and healthcare facilities (Part III, section 27)

Telecommunications must not be made to emergency lines or healthcare facilities.

Internal Do Not Call Lists (Part III, sections 8 to 15)

  • Every telemarketer or its client must maintain an internal do not call list, and refrain from calling anyone who has requested no further calls.
  • Telemarketers must process do not call requests immediately.
  • Telemarketers or clients must update their internal do not call lists within 14 days and keep numbers on lists for 3 years and 14 days from the date of consumers’ do not call requests.

Information about ADAD calls

See the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules, Part IV. This section describes the ADAD Rules, including:

Prohibition and exemption (Part IV, section 2)

Political entities are not allowed to use ADADs for the purpose of solicitation, unless the called person has expressly agreed to receive that specific political entity’s ADAD solicitation calls.

Information about ADAD calls where there is no solicitation

ADADs can be used to make calls that are not for the purpose of solicitation. There are certain rules that apply to these calls:

Identification information (Part IV, section 4 a through j)

  • ADAD calls must begin with a clear message identifying the person or group on whose behalf the call is made. The message must also:
    • briefly describe the purpose of the call, and
    • include an email address or a postal mailing address and a local or toll-free number where representatives of the organization that sent the message can be reached. The numbers and addresses must be valid for at least 60 days after the call has been made.
  • If the ADAD message is longer than 60 seconds, the identification information must be repeated at the end of the call.
  • The screen on the called-person’s phone must display the originating calling number or an alternate number where the political entity can be reached, except where number display is unavailable for technical reasons.

Curfew (Part IV, section 4 b and c)

ADAD calls can only be made from 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on weekdays (Monday to Friday) and 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekends (Saturday and Sunday) unless provincial legislation specifies more restrictive hours.

Disconnection (Part IV, section 4 h)

Anyone initiating ADAD calls must make all reasonable efforts to ensure that the equipment disconnects within 10 seconds after the person receiving the call hangs up.

Sequential dialing (Part IV, section 4 f)

Sequential dialing is prohibited.

Emergency lines and healthcare facilities (Part IV, section 4 a)

ADAD calls must not be made to emergency lines or healthcare facilities.

Footnotes

Footnote 1

This fact sheet does not constitute advice regarding compliance with the Rules. Parties should consult the Telecommunications Act, the Rules, and relevant CRTC Decisions such as Telecom Decision 2007-48, Telecom Decision 2008-6-1, Telecom Regulatory Policy 2009-200, and Compliance and Enforcement Regulatory Policy 2014-155 prior to engaging in unsolicited telecommunications.

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Footnote 2

Note that the Telecommunications Act imposes certain obligations in respect of calls made on behalf of exempt political entities (see ss. 41.7(3) and 41.7(4)).

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