About registering and who can still call you
Every year, thousands of Canadians raise concerns about receiving unwanted telemarketing calls. The National Do Not Call List (DNCL) is designed to reduce the number of unsolicited telemarketing calls and faxes Canadians receive.
When you sign up to have your cellular, home phone, VoIP number or fax number included on the National DNCL, companies making unsolicited marketing or sales calls can no longer contact you, with some exceptions.
On this page
- How to sign up
- How long before registration takes effect?
- Is registration permanent?
- Can I put my business number on the National DNCL?
- How do telemarketers know I'm on the National DNCL?
- Who can still call?
- Market research, polls and surveys
- Rules telemarketers must follow when they call
- How to make a complaint
- Will I be protected from phone fraud if I sign up?
- National DNCL checklist
How to sign up
You can sign up your home phone, cellular. VoIP number or fax number(s) on the National DNCL. Signing up is simple, quick and free. You can sign up online or call the toll-free number 1-866-580-DNCL (1-866-580-3625). To sign up using a teletypewriter, dial 1-888-DNCL-TTY (1-888-362-5889).
How long before registration takes effect?
After you sign up, your numbers will be added to the List within 24 hours. Telemarketers then have 31 days to update their own information and make sure they don’t call you in their next round of telemarketing.
Don’t expect all calls to stop immediately. You could still receive calls within the first 31 days of signing up.
Is registration permanent?
Yes, once a number has been registered on the National DNCL it is permanent. You can also, at any time, have your number removed.
Can I put my business number on the National DNCL?
Although citizens are the primary focus of the National DNCL, there is nothing stopping you from registering your business telephone number to the National DNCL. However, calls to business numbers are only covered under the Telemarketing Rules and ADAD rules as these calls are exempt from the National DNCL Rules.
How do telemarketers know I'm on the National DNCL?
Telemarketers are required by law to subscribe to the National DNCL. Such companies register and pay fees to download updates from a secure website. It’s their responsibility to ensure numbers on the National DNCL are not called.
Who can still call?
Registering on the National DNCL will reduce but not eliminate all telemarketing calls and faxes. There are certain kinds of telemarketing calls and faxes that are exempt from the National DNCL, including those made by or on behalf of:
- registered charities
- newspapers looking for subscriptions
- political parties and their candidates
Companies with whom you have an existing business relationship are also exempt. For example, if you have done business with a company in the previous 18 months, that company can call you. After 18 months it must stop calling if you’re on the National DNCL, unless you give permission otherwise.
To learn more about exemptions, go to Who Can Still Call You on the National DNCL website.
Telemarketers making exempt calls must maintain their own do not call lists. If you do not want to be called by these telemarketers, you can ask to be put on their do not call lists. They are obliged to do so within 14 days. You may wish to keep a record of the date of your request.
For more information, see Part II of the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules and the Telecommunications Act.
Market research, polls and surveys
You may continue to receive calls from organizations conducting market research, polls or surveys even though you are registered on the National DNCL. These calls are exempt from the national DNCL.
They’re not considered to be telemarketing calls because they are not selling a product or service, or requesting donations. Similarly, debt collection calls are not considered telemarketing calls. As well, these organizations do not have to keep internal do not call lists.
Rules telemarketers must follow when they call
Among other things, telemarketers must:
- identify who they are as well as the purpose of the call and, upon request, provide you with a fax or telephone number where you can speak to someone about the telemarketing call
- display the telephone number that they’re calling from or that you can call to reach them, and
- only call or send faxes between 9:00 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. on weekdays and between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on weekends.
Telemarketers may use Automatic Dialing and Announcing Devices (devices that dial telephone numbers automatically and deliver a pre-recorded message). However, these devices are regulated under Part IV the Automatic Dialing-Announcement Device (ADAD) Rules.
For more information, see Part III and Part IV of the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules.
How to make a complaint
Complaints about telemarketers can be made through the National DNCL website or by calling the toll-free numbers 1-866-580-DNCL (1-866-580-3625) or 1-888-DNCL-TTY (1-888-362-5889).
Types of complaints can include receiving a call even though you have registered on the National DNCL, receiving a call outside of permitted calling hours, having a telemarketer refuse to put your name and number on their do not call list, or any other violation of the rules.
If you get an unwanted call, don’t hang up. To make a complaint you need to provide the name of the organization that called you or the number where that organization can be reached, as well as the date of the call and your own number. Any other information you can obtain from the telemarketer will assist the CRTC to effectively investigate your complaint. By law, telemarketers must give you their name and number.
The CRTC will investigate complaints and can penalize telemarketers found to be in violation of any of the CRTC's Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules. The CRTC can levy penalties of up to $1,500 for an individual and up to $15,000 for a corporation, for each violation.
Will I be protected from phone fraud if I sign up?
The National DNCL applies to all telemarketing organizations. It doesn’t necessarily prevent fraudulent telemarketing calls.
That’s why it’s important to always be on your guard. If you receive a call and are worried it may be part of a fraud scheme, contact your local police or Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (PhoneBusters) at 1-888-495-8501, a national anti-fraud service jointly operated by the RCMP, the Ontario Provincial Police, and the Competition Bureau.
National DNCL checklist
- Signing up is simple and quick.
- It’s the telemarketer’s job by law to check and respect the National DNCL.
- Some kinds of calls are exempt—the National DNCL Rules don’t apply in every case.
- If you receive an exempt call, the telemarketer has to follow the CRTC’s Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules.
- You may ask to be put on a telemarketer’s own do not call list at any time — and any telemarketer found to be in violation of the law can receive financial penalties.
- National DNCL
- Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules
- Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
- Telecommunications Act
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