ARCHIVED - Public Notice CRTC 2001-34

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Public Notice CRTC 2001-34


Ottawa, 5 March 2001


CRTC seeks public input on telemarketing rules


Reference: 8665-C12-13/01


The CRTC is seeking public input in its review of Canadian telemarketing rules.


Telemarketing has prompted controversy among consumers and business owners for a number of years. Order CRTC 2001-193 , released today, extends the existing telemarketing rules to apply uniformly to all telecom service providers across the country. This Public Notice takes the process one step further by inviting Canadians to comment on how well those rules meet their needs, and whether changes are required.


The Commission is conducting a review of its rules regarding unsolicited communications for the purpose of solicitation. The rules concern unsolicited communications from persons who represent for-profit and not-for-profit (for example, charitable) organizations. These persons are often called "telemarketers".


The current rules are summarized in Appendix 2 of Order CRTC 2001-193, released today. The rules prohibit the use of automatic dialing and announcing devices (ADADs) to make unsolicited calls for the purpose of solicitation and place certain conditions on permitted uses of ADADs for non-solicitation purposes. They also establish conditions for live voice and facsimile (fax) solicitations and include provisions for enforcement by telecom service providers. As a result of Order 2001-193, the rules now apply uniformly across Canada to all telecom service providers.


In the proceeding which resulted in Order 2001-193, a significant number of comments related to consumer inconvenience and annoyance caused by unwanted communications from soliciting organizations. On the other hand, a small number of parties to that proceeding maintained that the existing rules were unduly restrictive. As noted in Order 2001-193, all of these comments have been made part of the record of this proceeding.


In recent years, a broad range of concerns and complaints have been expressed about unsolicited communications using live voice calls and fax transmissions. The Commission has been monitoring complaints about telemarketing received from the Canadian public and believes the time has come to seek comments regarding the effectiveness of its rules, as well as explore other options or measures to deal with these concerns.


The Telecommunications Act provides guidance


Section 41 of the Telecommunications Act states:


The Commission may, by order, prohibit or regulate the use by any person of the telecommunications facilities of a Canadian carrier for the provision of unsolicited telecommunications to the extent that the Commission considers it necessary to prevent undue inconvenience or nuisance, giving due regard to freedom of expression.


In addition, one of the policy objectives in section 7 of the Act is "to contribute to the protection of the privacy of persons."


In arriving at the present rules, the Commission considered how best to fulfil the intent of section 41 of the Act and achieve the objectives in section 7, while taking into account the legitimate uses of such communications.


The Commission has also taken into account the right to freedom of expression set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.


The Commission notes that telemarketing fraud on the other hand, is a matter of criminal law which is subject to investigation by law enforcement agencies.


Public comments are welcome


The Commission invites comments on the current rules (including enforcement procedures) concerning unsolicited communications. Those proposing changes to the rules should describe their proposed changes in detail and present supporting materials taking into account the provisions of the Act quoted above.


The Commission invites comments on the following questions as well as other points parties wish to raise:

  •  Can the current rules (including enforcement procedures) be made more effective? How?
  •  Should any new restrictions be placed on live voice calls from individuals, businesses and non-profit organizations who solicit for money or money's worth?
  • Many complaints have been received regarding unsolicited facsimile (fax) calls made for the purpose of solicitation. Are the current rules dealing with unsolicited fax adequate? Are any additional rules required to prevent undue inconvenience or nuisance to parties receiving such faxes? Should such faxes be prohibited?
  •  What restrictions if any, should be placed on unsolicited communications which are not made for the purpose of solicitation, such as market or survey research calls?
  • How effective are "do-not-call" lists; how could they be improved, and who should be responsible for maintaining them? Any suggested alternative methods and procedures should be described and evaluated in terms of cost and their advantages over the present system.
  • How can concerns be addressed from consumers who receive "dead air" or "hang up" calls which may be related to uncompleted telemarketing calls? (These "dead air" calls may occur when a telemarketing representative is not immediately available and the connection is made by predictive dialers which store or produce the telephone numbers to be called.)
  •  In the proceeding which led to Order 2001-193, the Canadian Marketing Association submitted that ADADs should be allowed when communicating with a client with whom a firm has an on-going business relationship. Should telemarketers be allowed to use ADADs in these cases?

How to take part in the process


The following telephone companies providing local exchange service are made parties to this proceeding: Aliant Telecom Inc., Bell Canada, MTS Communications Inc., Northwestel Inc., Saskatchewan Telecommunications and TELUS Communications Inc.


Other persons wishing to participate fully in this proceeding (including receiving copies of all submissions), must notify the Commission of their intention to do so by writing to the Secretary General, CRTC, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0N2, by e-mailing at or by faxing at: (819) 953-0795, by 21 March 2001. Parties are to provide their email address, where available. If parties do not have access to the Internet, they are to indicate in their notice whether they wish to receive disk versions of hard copy filings. The Commission will issue, as soon as possible after the registration date, a complete list of interested parties and their mailing addresses, (including their email addresses, if available), identifying those parties who wish to receive disk versions.


Each of the telephone companies who have been made party to this proceeding (in paragraph 12) are required to provide statistics on the type and number of complaints they have received regarding unsolicited voice and fax communications over the last five years (1996-2000) and the number that have resulted in some enforcement action including disconnection. They are also required to describe the process they use for handling complaints on these matters, including any scripts used by their customer service representatives. The information set out in this paragraph is required to be filed by 10 April 2001 and served on all interested parties.


Interested parties may file submissions with the Commission, commenting on the questions raised in this proceeding serving copies on all other interested parties by 24 April 2001. Submissions longer than five pages should include a summary.


This proceeding will have an interrogatory process whereby any interested party that filed comments may address questions to any other interested party that filed comments. Such interrogatories must be filed with the Commission and served on the interested parties to which the interrogatories are addressed by 14 May 2001.


Responses to all interrogatories are to be filed with the Commission and served on all interested parties by 5 June 2001.


Requests by interested parties for further responses to their interrogatories, specifying in each case why a further response is both relevant and necessary, and requests for public disclosure of information for which confidentiality has been claimed, setting out the reasons for disclosure, must be filed with the Commission and served on the interested parties in question by 18 June 2001.


Written responses to requests for further responses to interrogatories and for public disclosure must be filed with the Commission and served on the interested party or parties making the request by 6 July 2001.


Requests for disclosure and for further responses will be dealt with as soon as possible, and it is intended that any information to be provided is to be filed with the Commission and served on all interested parties no later than by 17 August 2001.


Interested parties may file reply comments with the Commission, serving a copy on all other parties by 17 September 2001. Submissions longer than five pages should include a summary.


Any person who wishes merely to file written comments in this proceeding, without receiving copies of the various submissions, may do so by writing to the Commission at the address noted in paragraph 13 or by sending an email to the Commission at by 17 August 2001. Submissions longer than five pages should include a summary. Alternatively, they may call the Commission at 1-877-249-2782 to express their views on the issues raised in this Public Notice. The Commission will make these comments given by phone available on its website.


Where a document is to be filed or served by a specific date, the document must be actually received, not merely mailed, by that date.


Parties wishing to file electronic versions of their comments can do so by email or on diskette. The Commission email address is Telcos party to this proceeding are expected to file electronically.


Electronic submissions should be in the HTML format. As an alternative, those making submissions may use "Microsoft Word" for text and "Microsoft Excel" for spreadsheets.


Please number each paragraph of the comment. In addition, please enter the line ***End of document*** following the last paragraph. This will help the Commission verify that the document has not been damaged during transmission.


The Commission will make comments filed in electronic form available on its web site at in the official language and format in which they are submitted. This will make it easier for members of the public to consult the documents.


The Commission also encourages interested parties to monitor the public examination file (and/or the Commission's web site) for additional information that they may find useful when preparing their comments.


Submissions may be examined or will be made available promptly upon request at the following Commission offices during normal business hours:


Central Building
Les Terrasses de la Chaudière
1 Promenade du Portage, Room G-5
Hull, Quebec K1A 0N2
Tel: (819) 997-2429 - TDD: 994-0423
Fax: (819) 994-0218


Bank of Commerce Building
1809 Barrington Street
Suite 1007
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 3K8
Tel: (902) 426-7997 - TDD: 426-6997
Fax: (902) 426-2721


405 de Maisonneuve Blvd. East
2nd Floor, Suite B2300
Montréal, Quebec H2L 4J5
Tel: (514) 283-6607 - TDD: 283-8316
Fax: (514) 283-3689


55 St. Clair Avenue East
Suite 624
Toronto, Ontario M4T 1M2
Tel: (416) 952-9096
Fax: (416) 954-6343


Kensington Building
275 Portage Avenue
Suite 1810
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 2B3
Tel: (204) 983-6306 - TDD: 983-8274
Fax: (204) 983-6317


Cornwall Professional Building
2125 - 11th Avenue
Room 103
Regina, Saskatchewan S4P 3X3
Tel: (306) 780-3422
Fax: (306) 780-3319


10405 Jasper Avenue
Suite 520
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 3N4
Tel: (780) 495-3224
Fax: (780) 495-3214


530-580 Hornby Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V6C 3B6
Tel: (604) 666-2111 - TDD: 666-0778
Fax: (604) 666-8322


Secretary General


This document is available in alternative format upon request and may also be examined at the following Internet site: 

Date Modified: 2001-03-05

Date modified: