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New Canadian Telemarketing Rules Will Impact Charities

(June 4, 2004) The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has issued new regulations (effective June 21, 2004) that impose additional requirements and disclosures for charities engaged in telemarketing, as well as for those for-profit organizations working on behalf of a charity.

The following new rules now apply to charities and to for-profit telemarketers working on behalf of a charity:

  • The telemarketer must immediately identify him/herself and the organization (charity) on whose behalf the call is being made. This disclosure must come before the telemarketer can ask for a particular individual.
  • The telemarketer must also provide a toll-free telephone number that an individual can use to provide questions and comments about the call. This disclosure must also come before the telemarketer can ask for a particular individual. This number must be staffed during business hours.
  • If an individual, during the call, asks to be placed on a do-not-call list, the telemarketer must immediately act on the request without requiring the individual to do anything further.
  • Beginning October 1, a telemarketer must provide to an individual who wants to be placed on a do-not-call list a unique registration number to confirm receipt of each do-not-call request.

There are two additional rules for for-profit telemarketers calling on behalf of a charity:

  • The telemarketer must immediately identify the name of the for-profit company representing the charity.
  • If an individual requests to be placed on a do-not-call list during a call, then the telemarketing must ask if the individual wants to be placed on all of the do-not-call lists of organizations represented by the telemarketer.

In the rules, the CRTC indicated that it would prefer to institute a national Do-Not-Call Registry, but felt that such an effort would be "counter productive" without sufficient start-up funding and enforcement power, both of which it currently lacks.

Once a request is made, charities have 30 days to process the request and place the individual on their do-not-call list. Individuals on an organization-specific do-not-call list cannot be contacted for three years, starting with the day their request was processed.

The new rules are scheduled to go into effect on June 21, 2004.

While AFP agrees with some of the new requirements, such as identification of the organization calling, the requirements for a fully-staffed, toll-free phone number and unique registration number are extremely burdensome, especially for smaller organizations. Requiring the disclosure of that information at the beginning of any call will also decrease dramatically the effectiveness of charity telemarketing calls. The limited amount of time to comply with the new requirements is also very troubling.

AFP will be in contact with the CRTC and other federal agencies (such as Industry Canada) and also plans to work with other allied organizations to seek improvements in the rules. 

Fax Rules

While fax telemarketing is not used often by charities, fundraisers should be aware that the new rules do affect fax communications as well. The requirements are similar to those for phone calls, but do include other limitations:

  • The fax must identify who is sending the fax (both the individual person and organization) and include information about a toll-free telephone number and toll-free fax number where do-not-call/fax requests can be processed. A name and address must also be included to where individuals can send their comments.
  • The originating date and time of the fax must also be provided.
  • All of the above information must be in a font size 12 point or larger at the top of the first page of any fax.
  • Do-not-call/fax requests must be processed within 7 days, and individuals on the list cannot be contacted for three years.

For a complete copy of the CRTC decision and explanation, go to:

http://www.crtc.gc.ca/archive/ENG/Decisions/2004/dt2004-35.htm

If you have additional questions, please contact the AFP Public Affairs Department at paffairs@afpnet.org.

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