Canada's National Do Not Call ("DNC") registry was launched by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ("CRTC") at the end of September. If telemarketers call a number 31-days after it has been registered, the CRTC can impose administrative monetary penalties ("AMPs"). This means that, as early as October 31, 2008, companies could face significant fines if they do not comply with the DNC registry.
The CRTC's Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules will apply to all unsolicited calls for the purpose of solicitation, which is defined as the sale or promotion of a product or service or the solicitation of money or money's worth. Any telephone number in Canada can be registered, and there is no charge to the consumer to complete a registration. If a telemarketing call is made to a number registered on the National DNC List at least 31 days after its registration, AMPs of up to $1,500 per violation for individual violators and up to $15,000 per violation for corporations may be awarded.
Each separate legal entity that makes telemarketing calls must register and where it makes non-exempt calls, it must also subscribe to the National DNC List. Subscription fees vary; the fee for a full year subscription to all Canadian area codes is $11,280.
A consumer's express consent to receive telemarketing calls overrides a listing on the National DNC List. A number of other exemptions also apply. Telemarketing calls made by or on behalf of registered political parties, nomination and leadership contestants, registered charities and calls to solicit subscriptions to general-circulation newspapers can be made to numbers on the National DNC List. Calls can be made where an "existing business relationship" has been created, in certain circumstances, by the purchase or lease of products or services. In addition, an exemption applies for telemarketing to businesses. Where only exempted calls are made, organizations must maintain their own DNC lists, honour consumers' requests not to be called, and identify the purpose of their call at the beginning of each call.
September 30, 2008 was the start date for registrations by consumers and by telemarketers. Registrations can be made at: www.lnnte-dncl.gc.ca. Numbers can also be registered using a toll free number, (866) 580 3625.