INDUSTRY TABLES LEGISLATION FOR
NATIONAL DO NOT CALL LIST
OTTAWA, December 13, 2004 — The Honourable David L. Emerson, Minister of Industry, today announced that the Government of Canada is introducing legislation that would reduce the volume of unsolicited telemarketing calls Canadians receive at home.
The amendments to the Telecommunications Act will, if enacted by Parliament, provide the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) with the ability to establish a national Do Not Call List. It will also give the CRTC the power to levy substantial penalties against telemarketers who do not follow the rules, and to contract with a private sector third party to operate the service.
“We want to give Canadians an easy and effective way to protect their privacy and stop intrusive telemarketing,” said Minister Emerson. “Canadians overwhelmingly want this, and we believe we’ve found a way to deliver what they want in a fair, cost-effective manner.”
In a recent Environics survey, 79 percent of Canadians surveyed said they support a national Do Not Call List, and 66 percent of those surveyed said they would sign up for such a service.
If the bill becomes law, the CRTC will then consult Canadians on the implementation of a national Do Not Call List. The Commission plans to start such a consultative process shortly after the bill is adopted by Parliament. Such consultations could include the question of whether any organizations should be exempt from a Do Not Call List.
The CRTC already has the responsibility for regulating telemarketing, but earlier this year it indicated (Telecom Decision 2004-35) that while a national Do Not Call List had considerable merit, the Commission did not have the correct authority to establish and maintain such a list. The proposed legislation addresses this issue.
Once the list is operational, Canadians who do not wish to receive calls from companies offering goods and services will be able to add their telephone number to a single, centralized list that telemarketers will be required to download regularly and respect. Both the United States and the United Kingdom have similar systems.
Penalties of $1,500 per offending call for individuals and $15,000 per offending call for corporations would be imposed for telemarketers who did not respect the list. Funding for the operation of the list would be obtained on a cost-recovery basis from telemarketers themselves.
“A national Do Not Call List that operates as a system Canadians opt into is preferable to an approach that imposes a heavier regulatory burden,” said Minister Emerson. “This is an example of the government’s commitment to smart regulation, and the size of the penalties show we are serious about addressing the issue of unwanted telemarketing.”
Interested parties with views on how the list should operate should make their views known to the CRTC during the consultation process.
Information for consumers about the existing rules on telemarketing can be found on the CRTC Web site at www.crtc.gc.ca.
For further information, please contact:
Office of the Honourable David L. Emerson
Minister of Industry