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Industry Canada Proposes Do-Not-Call List

(Dec. 20, 2004) The Honourable David L. Emerson, Minister of Industry, announced last week the introduction of legislation to create a federal Do-Not-Call List.

The proposal would give the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) the power to establish a registry of names of individuals who did not want to receive telemarketing calls and levy fines against those telemarketers who violate the registry's requirements.

Penalties of $1,500 per offending call for individuals and $15,000 per offending call for corporations would be imposed for telemarketers who did not respect the list. Funding for the operation of the list would be obtained on a cost-recovery basis from telemarketers themselves.

There is no indication at this point whether or not charities and nonprofit organizations would be exempt from a federal Do-Not-Call List, as they are in United States. Over the past several years, the government has recognized the unique role of the voluntary sector in various legislation, including the federal privacy law. However, the CRTC's recent telemarketing proposals, including the requirement that organizations have a fully-staffed toll-free number to answer comments and complaints about telemarketing calls, made no such exceptions for charities.

If the bill becomes law, the CRTC would then consult Canadians on the implementation of a national Do-Not-Call List. Such consultations could include the question of whether any organizations should be exempt from such a list.

The earliest the Do-Not-Call Registry would be implemented is late 2005.

AFP will be speaking with members of Parliament about the proposed Do-Not-Call List, its potential impact on charities, and why charities should be exempt from the list's requirements.

In a recent Environics survey conducted in December 2003, 79 percent of Canadians surveyed said they support a national Do-Not-Call List, and 66 percent of those surveyed said they would sign up for such a service.

Industry Canada's website has more information on the Do-Not-Call List proposal.

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