CRTC set to unveil 'do not call' registry
Canadians tired of having their dinner disturbed by unwanted and unsolicited calls from telemarketers will soon be able to put their names on a "do not call" list intended to end the unwanted interruptions.
The Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is expected to announce Wednesday that the registry will be up and running by the end of September.
Canadians will be able to sign up for the service for free, either online or via a toll-free number.
The U.S. has such a system in place, but it was only earlier this year that the CRTC asked for companies to submit tenders to investigate complaints under the list.
Bell Canada has been awarded a five-year contract to operate the list.
Nancy Webster Cole of the CRTC said that companies that violate the national "do not call" list can be penalized with a fine up to $15,000.
However, the list would not serve as a complete ban on marketing-type calls. Businesses that have already an established relationship with the client would be exempt, as would political parties, polling companies, newspapers seeking subscriptions, and charities.
The CRTC began the process of setting up the registry last summer, more than two years after legislation was first tabled for such a list.
At the time, critics said the legislation had been watered down to the point where it was considered a "do not hesitate to call list" rather than a ban on calling.
David Emerson, now foreign affairs minister, first tabled the legislation in 2004 when he was the Liberal industry minister.
The bill received royal assent in November 2005.
A poll last fall found 63 per cent of Canadians said they would "definitely" add their name to such a list.
The poll by VoxPop, a campaign by the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, which represents Canada's survey research industry, also showed 61 per cent of respondents believed the registry would be effective at stemming unwanted calls, even with the exemptions granted to such groups as registered charities and survey researchers.
The U.S. "do not call" list has been an undeniable success. More than 145 million phone numbers have subscribed to the list and the U.S. government has collected about $26 million in fines.
With a report from CTV's Rosemary Thompson