On March 31, 2014, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) released Compliance and Enforcement Regulatory Policy CRTC 2014-155, Review of Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules. The CRTC has authority under the Telecommunications Act to prohibit or regulate the use of telecommunications facilities for unsolicited telecommunications “to the extent that the Commission considers it necessary to prevent undue inconvenience or nuisance, having due regard to freedom of expression”. The CRTC has exercised this authority by establishing the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules (the UTRs) which prescribe rules relating to the National Do Not Call List, telemarketing calls, and the use of automatic dial-announcing devices (or ADADs).
The Regulatory Policy decision follows a consultation conducted by the CRTC during the first half of 2013 to consider a number of possible changes to the UTRs, including a longstanding application by the Canadian Marketing Association (CMA) to relax the requirement for express consent for telemarketing calls made using an ADAD. In its decision, the Commission rejected the CMA’s request to permit the use of ADADs for telemarketing calls without express consent if the caller has an existing business relationship with the called party and the called party has not made a do not call request.
Under the UTRs, ADADs are permitted to be used without express consent for calls that do not involve solicitation provided certain conditions are met, including the provision of identification and contact information and time of day obligations. Significantly, the Policy expands the pre-existing obligation to identify at the outset of the message the person on whose behalf the call is being made to also require that a “brief description of the purpose of the telecommunication” be included.
The CRTC also made the following additional determinations and amendments to the UTRs in its decision:
- Telemarketers and ADAD users may, as an alternative to providing a mailing address, provide an email address where the consumer can write to ask questions, make comments or make or verify a do not call request;
- The time period for implementing a request to be placed on the caller’s internal do not call list is shortened from 31 days to 14 days; and
- Mandatory contact information is now expressly required to remain valid for a period of 60 days following a call.
Amongst other things, the Commission declined to mandate caller name display for telemarketing calls, enhanced record keeping requirements for telemarketers and ADAD users, or the application of internal do not call requests to calls that do not involve solicitation.
The changes to the UTRs are effective immediately, with the exception of the change to the time period for implementing internal do not call requests which is effective June 30, 2014.