Under the CRTC’s new Do Not Call List (DNCL) rules, consumers will be able to register any Canadian telephone number and businesses may not make calls to individuals who have registered unless they fall into one of the specified exempt categories. How will this new regulatory requirement affect non-exempt organizations that use telemarketing strategies as a key component of their marketing activities?

Non-exempt organizations need to be fully aware of their obligations under the law and must establish compliant procedures before the DNCL goes into effect on September 30, 2008. The following are four suggestions to help your organization achieve DNCL compliance:

1. Perform an Audit – Understand Internal Activities and Establish the Extent of Your Organization’s Telemarketing Activities

  • Develop and distribute a survey to all internal departments or divisions, as well third-party agents or contractors, to help gather information.
  • Identify who is being contacted, the purpose of the call and how your contact lists are generated.
  • Assess your current level of compliance: Are you already maintaining internal Do Not Call Lists? Are specific telemarketing rules being followed, including time of call and providing a call back number?

2. Start Early – Plan for the DNCL Now!

  • Register with the DNCL operator and pay the appropriate subscription fee.
  • Require your telemarketing service provider(s) to register and pay the appropriate subscription fee.
  • Put schedules and procedures in place to download DNCL lists of registered numbers at least every 31 days and update internal lists accordingly – remember that individuals whose names appear on any DNCL list must be removed from your phone lists within 31 days of their registration on a DNCL list.

3. Educate Your Organization – Know the Exemptions

  • Update contact lists and make note of exempted numbers of individuals who have consented to receive your calls, despite having registered on the DNCL, and make note of customers with whom your organization has an existing business relationship.
  • Remember to record individual dates and deadlines.

4. Establish Due Diligence Procedures

  • Establish procedures for keeping detailed and accurate records now. The CRTC has stipulated that telemarketers or their service providers must keep records establishing a telemarketer’s subscription to the DNCL and payment of all required fees for 3 years.
  • Be prepared to respond to potential complaints or alleged violations. While the CRTC does not expressly require retention of records relating to calls, telemarketers or their service provides are encouraged to maintain records in order to respond to a complaint or alleged violation. It is strongly recommended that a minimum 3 year retention period be implemented.
  • Establish and implement written policies and procedures to comply with the Unsolicited Telecommunications and Do Not Call rules.
  • Provide ongoing training to telemarketing employees to ensure that they understand the Rules and know how to deal with do-not-call requests. This includes making reasonable efforts to provide ongoing training to any person (managers, in-house counsel) assisting in compliance with the Rules and any written polices and procedures.
  • Review and revise contracts with telemarketing service providers to ensure their compliance with DNCL rules. Businesses are responsible for breaches committed by their telemarketing providers.
  • Set schedules to monitor and regularly update written policies and procedures.