Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules

Note: The Commission established the initial set of Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules (the Rules) in Telecom Decision 2007-48 and made additions and modifications to the Rules in subsequent decisions. For convenience, this document represents an amalgamation of the Rules established in the Commission's decisions. Where a change has been made subsequent to Telecom Decision 2007-48, the corresponding rule is identified with a reference to the specific decision. Please refer to the specific decision, as listed at the end of this document, for an explanation of the change.

Part I: Definitions

  1. In these Rules,
    "Abandoned Call" means a telecommunication placed by a predictive dialing device to a consumer which, when answered by the consumer, has no live telemarketer available to speak to the consumer within two seconds;

"Abandonment Rate" means the percentage of telecommunications placed by a predictive dialing device which are abandoned calls;


"Affiliate" One entity is affiliated with another entity if one of them is controlled by the other or if both are controlled by the same person;


"Automatic Dialing-Announcing Device" or "ADAD" means any automatic equipment incorporating the capability of storing or producing telecommunications numbers used alone or in conjunction with other equipment to convey a pre-recorded or synthesized voice message to a telecommunications number;


"Automatic Dialing-Announcing Device Rules" means the Rules set out in Part IV;


"Client of a telemarketer" means a person that has engaged a telemarketer to conduct telemarketing on its behalf;


"Complaints Investigator delegate" means the person to whom the Commission has delegated its powers to conduct investigations to determine whether there has been a contravention of the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules;
Telecom Decision CRTC 2008-6


"Control" shall have the same meaning as set out in subsection 2(1) of the Telecommunications Act;


"National Do Not Call List" or "National DNCL" means the National Do Not Call List established pursuant to the Telecommunications Act;


"National Do Not Call List operator" or "National DNCL operator" means the person to whom the Commission has delegated its powers under subsection 41.2(a) of the Telecommunications Act to administer databases or information, administrative or operational systems;
Telecom Decision CRTC 2008-6


"National Do Not Call List Rules" means the Rules set out in Part II;


"Newspaper of General Circulation" means a printed publication in sheet form that is intended for general circulation, published regularly at intervals of not longer than seven days, consisting in great part of news of current events of general and local interest, and sold to the public and to subscribers;


"Person" shall have the same meaning as set out in subsection 2(1) of the Telecommunications Act;


"Predictive Dialing Device" or "PDD" means any software, system, or device that automatically initiates outgoing telecommunications from a pre-determined list of telecommunications numbers;


"Solicitation" means the selling or promoting of a product or service, or the soliciting of money or money's worth, whether directly or indirectly and whether on behalf of another person. This includes solicitation of donations by or on behalf of charitable organizations;


"Telemarketing Rules" means the Rules set out in Part III;


"Telecommunications Act" means the Telecommunications Act, S.C. 1993, c.38, as amended;


"Telemarketer" means a person that conducts telemarketing either on its own behalf or on behalf of one or more other persons;


"Telemarketing" means the use of telecommunications facilities to make unsolicited telecommunications for the purpose of solicitation;


"Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules" means all the Rules set out in this document;


"Voice mail broadcast" means a telecommunication whereby a recorded message is delivered directly into a person's voice mailbox without interrupting that person's activities in real time.

Part II: National DNCL Rules

  1. For purposes of section 3, the terms "candidate," "existing business relationship," "leadership contestant," and "nomination contestant" shall have the same meaning as set out in subsection 41.7(2)1 of the Telecommunications Act.
    Telecom Regulatory Policy 2009-200

  2. The National DNCL Rules do not apply to a telemarketing telecommunication made to a business consumer.

  3. As provided for in section 41.7 of the Telecommunications Act, the National DNCL Rules do not apply in respect of a telecommunication

       a) made by or on behalf of a registered charity within the meaning of subsection 248 (1) of the Income Tax Act;

       b) made to a person

          (i) with whom the person making the telecommunication, or the person or organization on whose behalf the telecommunication is made, has an existing business relationship, and

          (ii) who has not made a do not call request in respect of the person or organization on whose behalf the telecommunication is made;

       c) made by or on behalf of a political party that is a registered party as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Canada Elections Act or that is registered under provincial law for the purposes of a provincial or municipal election;

       d) made by or on behalf of a nomination contestant, leadership contestant or candidate of a political party described in paragraph (c) or by or on behalf of the official campaign of such contestant or candidate;

       e) made by or on behalf of an association of members of a political party described in paragraph (c) for an electoral district;

       f) made for the sole purpose of collecting information for a survey of members of the public; or

       g) made for the sole purpose of soliciting a subscription for a newspaper of general circulation.

    3.1 In addition to the exemption set out in section 3(d), the National DNCL Rules do not apply to a telemarketing telecommunication made by or on behalf of a candidate as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Canada Elections Act or a candidate under provincial law for the purposes of a provincial or municipal election, or by or on behalf of the official campaign of such a candidate.
    Telecom Regulatory Policy 2009-200


  4. A telemarketer shall not initiate, and a client of a telemarketer shall make all reasonable efforts to ensure that the telemarketer does not initiate, a telemarketing telecommunication to a consumer's telecommunications number that is on the National DNCL, unless express consent has been provided by such consumer to be contacted via a telemarketing telecommunication by that telemarketer or the client of that telemarketer.

  5. For the purposes of section 4, express consent shall clearly evidence the consumer's authorization that a telemarketing telecommunication made by or on behalf of a specific person may be placed to that consumer and shall include the telecommunications number to which the telemarketing telecommunication may be placed.

  6. A telemarketer shall not initiate a telemarketing telecommunication on its own behalf unless it is a registered subscriber of the National DNCL and has paid all applicable fees to the National DNCL operator.

  7. A telemarketer shall not initiate a telemarketing telecommunication on behalf of a client unless that client is a registered subscriber of the National DNCL and the applicable fees to the National DNCL operator associated with that client's subscription have been paid.

  8. A telemarketer shall keep the following records related to its use of the National DNCL for a period of three (3) years from the date the records are created:

       a) when initiating a telemarketing telecommunication on its own behalf, proof of its subscription to the National DNCL and proof of payment of fees to the National DNCL operator; and

       b) when initiating a telemarketing telecommunication on behalf of clients, proof of subscription to the National DNCL and proof of payment of fees to the National DNCL operator for each client.

  9. A telemarketer, a client of a telemarketer, and any other subscriber of the National DNCL shall not use the National DNCL for any purpose except compliance with the provisions of the Telecommunications Act, the National DNCL Rules, or any other determinations made pursuant to section 41 of the Telecommunications Act.

  10. Subject to section 11, a telemarketer, a client of a telemarketer, and any other subscriber of the National DNCL shall not sell, rent, lease, publish or otherwise disclose, whether, for consideration or not, the National DNCL or any portion thereof to any person outside of its organization, including any affiliate.

  11. A person referred to in section 10 may provide the National DNCL or any portion thereof to another person involved in supplying that person with services to enable it to comply with the Telecommunications Act, the National DNCL Rules, or any other determination made pursuant to section 41 of the Telecommunications Act, provided that

       a) the National DNCL or any portion thereof is required for that purpose;

       b) the National DNCL or any portion thereof is to be used only for that purpose; and

       c) disclosure is made on a confidential basis.

  12. A telemarketer, a client of a telemarketer, and any other subscriber of the National DNCL shall make all reasonable efforts to ensure that the National DNCL or any portion thereof is not disclosed by any person to which it was provided pursuant to section 11 and is not used by that person for any purpose other than that referred to in section 11.

  13. A telemarketer and a client of a telemarketer shall use a version of the National DNCL obtained from the National DNCL operator no more than thirty-one (31) days prior to the date that any telemarketing telecommunication is made.

Part III: Telemarketing Rules

  1. The Telemarketing Rules apply whether or not the telemarketing telecommunication is exempt from the National DNCL Rules
    Telecom Decision CRTC 2008-6

  2. A telemarketer shall not initiate a telemarketing telecommunication on its own behalf unless it has registered with, and provided information to, the National DNCL operator, and has paid all applicable fees charged by the Complaints Investigator delegate.
    Telecom Decision CRTC 2008-6

  3. A telemarketer shall not initiate a telemarketing telecommunication on behalf of a client unless that client has registered with, and provided information to, the National DNCL operator, and all applicable fees charged by the Complaints Investigator delegate associated with that client have been paid.
    Telecom Decision CRTC 2008-6

  4. The Telemarketing Rules do not apply to a telemarketing telecommunication made via voice mail broadcast.

  5. A telemarketer shall keep the following records related to registration and provision of information to the National DNCL operator for a period of three (3) years from the date the records are created:

       a) when initiating a telemarketing telecommunication on its own behalf, proof of its registration with the National DNCL operator and proof of payment of fees to the Complaints Investigator delegate; and,

       b) when initiating a telemarketing telecommunication on behalf of clients, proof of registration with the National DNCL operator and proof of payment of fees to the Complaints Investigator delegate for each client.
    Telecom Decision CRTC 2008-6

  6. The Telemarketing Rules do not apply in respect of an unsolicited telecommunication made for purposes other than solicitation, including telecommunications made solely for the purpose of emergencies, account collection, collecting information for a survey of members of the public, and market research.

  7. A reseller of Centrex service shall make all reasonable efforts to ensure that subscribers and end-users of Centrex service do not employ the Centrex call transfer feature to transmit telemarketing telecommunications.

  8. A telemarketer initiating a telemarketing telecommunication on its own behalf shall maintain its own do not call list and shall keep a consumer's name and telecommunications number on the list for a period of three (3) years and fourteen (14) days from the date of the consumer's do not call request.
    Compliance and Enforcement Regulatory Policy 2014-155

  9. A client of a telemarketer shall maintain its own do not call list and shall keep a consumer's name and telecommunications number on the list for a period of three (3) years and fourteen (14) days from the date of the consumer's do not call request.
    Compliance and Enforcement Regulatory Policy 2014-155

  10. A telemarketer initiating a voice telemarketing telecommunication shall process a do not call request from a consumer at the time of the telemarketing telecommunication.

  11. A telemarketer initiating a telemarketing telecommunication on its own behalf shall add a consumer's name and telecommunications number to its do not call list within fourteen (14) days of the consumer's do not call request.
    Compliance and Enforcement Regulatory Policy 2014-155

  12. A telemarketer initiating a telemarketing telecommunication on behalf of a client shall make all reasonable efforts to ensure that the client adds a consumer's name and telecommunications number to the client's do not call list within fourteen (14) days of the consumer's do not call request.
    Compliance and Enforcement Regulatory Policy 2014-155

  13. A client of a telemarketer shall add a consumer's name and telecommunications number to the client's do not call list within fourteen (14) days of the consumer's do not call request.
    Compliance and Enforcement Regulatory Policy 2014-155

  14. A telemarketer shall not initiate a telemarketing telecommunication on its own behalf to a consumer who is or should be on its do not call list.

  15. A telemarketer shall not initiate, and a client of a telemarketer shall make all reasonable efforts to ensure that the telemarketer does not initiate, a telemarketing telecommunication on behalf of the client to a consumer who is or should be on the client's do not call list.

  16. A telemarketer initiating a voice telemarketing telecommunication shall provide the following information in a clear manner upon reaching the intended party:

       a) the name or fictitious name of the individual making the telecommunication;

       b) the name of the telemarketer, whether the telemarketing telecommunication is made on its own behalf or on behalf of a client of the telemarketer; and

       c) the name of the client, when the telemarketing telecommunication is being made on behalf of a client of the telemarketer.

  17. A telemarketer initiating a voice telemarketing telecommunication shall provide the following information in a clear manner upon request:

       a) a voice telecommunications number that allows access to an employee or other representative of the telemarketer for the purpose of asking questions, making comments about the telemarketing telecommunication, or making or verifying a do not call request; and

       b) the name and electronic mail address or postal mailing address of an employee or other representative of the telemarketer to whom the consumer can write for the purpose of asking questions, making comments about the telemarketing telecommunication, or making or verifying a do not call request.
    Compliance and Enforcement Regulatory Policy 2014-155

  18. The information referred to in section 17 shall be provided for both the telemarketer and, where applicable, the client of the telemarketer, whether or not the consumer has requested that both be provided.

  19. A telemarketer sending a fax telemarketing telecommunication shall clearly provide the following information at the top of the first page in font size 12 or larger:

       a) the name of the telemarketer sending the fax, whether the telemarketing telecommunication is made on its own behalf or on behalf of a client of the telemarketer;

       b) the name of the client when the telemarketing telecommunication is being made on behalf of a client of the telemarketer;

       c) the originating date and time of the fax;

       d) a voice and a fax telecommunications number that allows access to an employee or other representative of the telemarketer and, where applicable, the client of the telemarketer, for the purpose of asking questions, making comments about the telemarketing telecommunication, or making or verifying a do not call request; and

       e) the name and electronic mail address or postal mailing address of an employee or other representative of the telemarketer and, where applicable, the client of the telemarketer, to whom the consumer can write for the purpose of asking questions, making comments about the fax, or making or verifying a do not call request.
    Compliance and Enforcement Regulatory Policy 2014-155

  20. The telecommunications numbers to be provided pursuant to sections 17, 18, and 19

       a) shall be local or toll-free; and

       b) in the case of a voice telecommunications number, shall be answered either by a live operator or with a voice mail system that is always capable of taking messages from the consumer.

  21. The voice mail system referred to in section 20 shall provide a message informing the consumer that his or her call will be returned within three (3) business days.

  22. The telemarketer or, where applicable, the client of the telemarketer shall return the consumer's call referred to in section 21 within three (3) business days.

  23. Subject to section 24, a telemarketing telecommunication is restricted to the following hours: 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on weekdays (Monday to Friday); and 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekends (Saturday and Sunday). The hours refer to those of the consumer receiving the telemarketing telecommunication.

  24. A telemarketing telecommunication is restricted to the hours set out in or pursuant to provincial legislation that governs an activity where the hours set out in the provincial legislation are more restrictive that those set out in section 23, provided that the telecommunication is made for the purpose of that activity. The hours refer to those of the consumer receiving the telecommunication.

  25. A telemarketer initiating a telemarketing telecommunication shall display the originating telecommunications number or an alternate telecommunications number where the telemarketer can be reached (except where the number display is unavailable for technical reasons).

  26. Sequential dialing for the purpose of initiating a telemarketing telecommunication is prohibited.

  27. Random dialing for the purpose of initiating a telemarketing telecommunication, including to a non-published or a non-listed telecommunications number, is permitted except to telecommunications numbers that

       a) are registered on the National DNCL;

       b) are emergency lines;

       c) are associated with healthcare facilities;

       d) in the case where a telemarketer initiates a telemarketing telecommunication on its own behalf, are on the telemarketer's do not call list; and

       e) in the case where the telemarketer initiates a telemarketing telecommunication on behalf of a client of the telemarketer, are on the client's list.

  28. A telemarketer shall not initiate, and a client of a telemarketer shall make all reasonable efforts to ensure that the telemarketer does not initiate, a telemarketing telecommunication to any emergency line or healthcare facility.

  29. A telemarketer using a predictive dialing device to initiate telemarketing telecommunications shall not exceed, in any calendar month, a five (5) percent abandonment rate.

  30. A telemarketer and a client of a telemarketer shall maintain records, on a calendar month basis, with respect to the actual telemarketing telecommunication abandonment rates for a period of three (3) years from the date each monthly record is created.

  31. A telemarketer who initiates a telemarketing telecommunication and a client of a telemarketer – if different – shall ensure that the electronic mail addresses, postal mailing addresses and local or toll-free telecommunications numbers referred to in sections 17, 19, 20, 21, and 25 are valid for a minimum of sixty (60) days after the telecommunication has been initiated.
    Compliance and Enforcement Regulatory Policy 2014-155

Part IV: Automatic Dialing-Announcing Device (ADAD) Rules

  1. The ADAD Rules apply whether or not the telemarketing telecommunication is exempt from the National DNCL Rules.
    Telecom Decision CRTC 2008-6

  2. A telemarketer shall not initiate, and a client of a telemarketer shall make all reasonable efforts to ensure that the telemarketer does not initiate, a telemarketing telecommunication via an ADAD unless express consent has been provided by the consumer to receive a telemarketing telecommunication via an ADAD from that telemarketer or the client of that telemarketer. For greater certainty and without limiting the generality of the foregoing, this prohibition includes telemarketing telecommunications via an ADAD that are initiated by or on behalf of a charity, for the purpose of requesting a consumer to hold until a telemarketer is available, for activities such as radio station promotions, or for referring consumers to 900 or 976 service numbers.

  3. For the purposes of section 2, express consent shall clearly evidence the consumer's authorization that a telemarketing telecommunication via an ADAD made by or on behalf of a specific person may be placed to that consumer and shall include the specific telecommunications number to which the telemarketing telecommunication may be made.

  4. A person using an ADAD to make unsolicited telecommunications where there is no attempt to solicit, shall comply with the following conditions:

       a) such telecommunications shall not be made to emergency lines and healthcare facilities, whether such telecommunications are made by random dialing or otherwise;

       b) subject to paragraph (c), such telecommunications are restricted to 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on weekdays (Monday to Friday) and 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekends (Saturday and Sunday); the hours refer to those of the person receiving the telecommunication;

       c) such telecommunications are restricted to the hours set out in or pursuant to provincial legislation that governs an activity, provided that the telecommunication is made for the purpose of that activity. The hours refer to those of the person receiving the telecommunication;
    Telecom Regulatory Policy 2009-200

       d) such telecommunications shall begin with a clear message identifying the person on whose behalf the telecommunication is made and a brief description of the purpose of the telecommunication. This identification message shall include an electronic mail address or postal mailing address and a local or toll-free telecommunications number at which a representative of the originator of the message can be reached. In the event that the actual message relayed exceeds sixty (60) seconds, the identification message shall be repeated at the end of the telecommunication
    Compliance and Enforcement Regulatory Policy 2014-155

       e) such telecommunications shall display the originating telecommunications number or an alternate telecommunications number where the telecommunication originator can be reached (except where the number display is unavailable for technical reasons);

       f) sequential dialing is prohibited;

       g) random dialing can be used to make such telecommunications, including telecommunications to non-published telecommunications numbers, except to emergency lines and healthcare facilities;

       h) persons initiating such telecommunications shall make all reasonable efforts to ensure that their equipment disconnects within ten (10) seconds of the person receiving the telecommunication hanging up;

       i) the conditions in paragraphs (a) through (h) do not apply to unsolicited telecommunications made via an ADAD for public service reasons, including telecommunications made for emergency and administration purposes by police and fire departments, schools, hospitals, or similar organizations; and

       j) the person making the telecommunication and the person – if different – on whose behalf the telecommunication is made shall ensure that the electronic mail address, postal mailing address, and local or toll-free telecommunications number referred to in paragraphs (d) and (e) are valid for a minimum of sixty (60) days after the telecommunication has been made.
    Compliance and Enforcement Regulatory Policy 2014-155

Part V: Express Consent

  1. For the purposes of the requirements set out in Part II, sections 4 and 5, and Part IV, sections 2 and 3, accepted forms of express consent are

       a) written consent, including a completed application form signed by the consumer giving consent to be contacted by way of telecommunications;

       b) oral consent, including

          (i) oral consent verified by an independent third party;

          (ii) oral consent, where an audio recording of the consent is retained by the telemarketer or client of the telemarketer;

       c) electronic consent through the use of a toll-free number;

       d) electronic consent via the Internet; or

       e) consent through other methods as long as a documented record of consumer consent is created by the consumer or by an independent third party.

  2. The onus is on the telemarketer and, where applicable, the client of the telemarketer to demonstrate that valid express consent was given by the consumer.

  3. A consumer may withdraw his or her express consent at any time.

Part VI: Record Keeping

  1. With regard to any records that are required to be kept pursuant to the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules and any other records kept with regard to unsolicited telecommunications activities that are subject to the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules:

       a) a telemarketer and a client of a telemarketer may keep the records in any form, and shall do so in the same manner and format as they keep records in the ordinary course of business;

       b) such records shall be maintained in the regular place of business in a manner such that they are readily accessible in order to facilitate the activities authorized under section 72.06 of the Telecommunications Act;

       c) such records shall be provided to the Commission within thirty (30) days of a request from the Commission; and

       d) in the event of any termination of the business of a telemarketer or a client of a telemarketer, a principal of that person shall maintain the records and shall comply with paragraphs (a), (b), and (c). In the event of any sale, assignment, or other change in ownership of the business of a telemarketer or a client of a telemarketer, the successor business shall maintain the records and shall comply with paragraphs (a), (b), and (c).

Part VII: Liability

  1. A person will not be held liable for violating the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules if

       a) the person demonstrates, as part of its due diligence defence, that the telecommunication resulted from an error and that as part of its routine business practices:

          (i) the person has established and implemented adequate written policies and procedures to comply with the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules and to honour consumers' requests that they not be contacted by way of a telemarketing telecommunication;

          (ii) the person provides adequate ongoing training to employees and makes all reasonable efforts to ensure that adequate ongoing training is provided to any person assisting in its compliance with the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules and any written policies and procedures established under paragraph (i);

          (iii) the person uses the National DNCL obtained from the National DNCL operator no more than thirty-one (31) days prior to the date any telemarketing telecommunication is made;

          (iv) the person uses the telemarketer's or, where applicable, the client of the telemarketer's do not call list that was updated no more than thirty-one (31) days prior to the date any telemarketing telecommunication is made;

          (v) the person uses and maintains records documenting a process to prevent the initiation of a telemarketing telecommunication to any telecommunications number that has been registered for more than thirty-one (31) days on the National DNCL, the telemarketer's do not call list or, where applicable, the client of the telemarketer's do not call list;

          (vi) the person monitors and enforces compliance with the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules and its written policies and procedures, referred to in paragraph (i); and

          (vii) in the case of a person that has retained a telemarketer to engage in telemarketing on its behalf, the person has entered into an agreement between itself and the telemarketer requiring that the latter comply with the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules.

       b) In the case when a telemarketing telecommunication is made to a consumer's telecommunications number registered on the National DNCL, the person demonstrates that at the time of the telecommunication:

          (i) the consumer had an existing business relationship, within the meaning of subsection 41.7(2) of the Telecommunications Act, with the telemarketer or, as applicable, the client of the telemarketer;

          (ii) the telemarketing telecommunication qualified under one of the other exemptions specified in subsection 41.7(1) of the Telecommunications Act;

          (iii) the consumer was a business;

          (iv) the person had a personal relationship with the recipient consumer of the telemarketing telecommunication; or

          (v) there was valid prior express consent from the consumer to be contacted via a telemarketing telecommunication by the telemarketer or, as applicable, the client of the telemarketer.

       c) The circumstances described in paragraphs (a) and (b) are not exhaustive.

Related Documents


Subsection 41.7(2) of the Telecommunications Act provides:

(2) The following definitions apply in subsection (1).

"candidate" means a candidate as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Canada Elections Act or a candidate whose nomination has been confirmed, for the purposes of a provincial or municipal election, by a political party that is registered under provincial law.

"existing business relationship" means a business relationship that has been formed by a voluntary two-way communication between the person making the telecommunication and the person to whom the telecommunication is made, arising from

a) the purchase of services or the purchase, lease or rental of products, within the eighteen-month period immediately preceding the date of the telecommunication, by the person to whom the telecommunication is made from the person or organization on whose behalf the telecommunication is made;

b) an inquiry or application, within the six-month period immediately preceding the date of the telecommunication, by the person to whom the telecommunication is made in respect of a product or service offered by the person or organization on whose behalf the telecommunication is made; or

c) any other written contract between the person to whom the telecommunication is made and the person or organization on whose behalf the telecommunication is made that is currently in existence or that expired within the eighteen-month period immediately preceding the date of the telecommunication.

"leadership contestant" means a leadership contestant as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Canada Elections Act or a contestant for the leadership of a political party that is registered under provincial law.

"nomination contestant" means a nomination contestant as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Canada Elections Act or a contestant for nomination by a political party that is registered under provincial law as its candidate in a provincial or municipal election.