The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ("CRTC") recently issued a notice of violation to, and imposed a $250,000 penalty on, a telemarketing company that broke multiple rules under the CRTC's Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules ("Rules"). The company was calling Canadians to solicit donations of used clothes, which they would then sell to thrift stores in Ontario and British Columbia. The company's violations included, among others, calls to Canadians whose phone numbers were registered on the National Do Not Call List ("DNCL"), failure to subscribe to the National DNCL, failure to register with the National DNCL operator, and making phone calls during the restricted hours period.
This notice of violation is an important reminder to charities and not‑for‑profits considering, or currently engaged in, solicitations of donations by phone in Canada. Before placing telemarketing calls, consider whether and to what extent the Rules apply. To refresh yourself, you can read the Rules here:http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/trules-reglest.htm.
If you are going to be telemarketing in Canada, ensure your charity or not-for-profit is properly registered with the National DNCL operator and subscribed to the National DNCL, or confirm that an applicable exemption properly applies. Once you are registered and subscribed (or confirm an applicable exemption applies), do not call the numbers on the National DNCL! This may seem obvious, but it requires proper policies and procedures within your organization to ensure inadvertent calls are not made to Canadians who do not want them. For the sake of the Rules and your fellow Canadians, ensure your calls are made during the permitted time frame. This means calls can only be made on weekdays between 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and on weekends between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. (all times are local time to the time zone you are calling). Finally, do not forget to consider any applicable provincial rules, as some provinces have their own requirements and permitted time frames which may be different from the Rules.