Understand telemarketing rules for compliance

The National Do Not Call List (DNCL) is designed to reduce the number of unwanted telemarketing calls and faxes Canadian consumers receive.

The National DNCL is a key part of the CRTC's Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules. These rules include the Telemarketing Rules, National DNCL Rules, and Automatic Dialing and Announcing Device Rules.

Consumers must sign up to have their cellular, home phone or fax numbers included on the National DNCL. Once they register, their information is added within 24 hours. For each new registration, telemarketers have a 31-day grace period to update their own calling lists. The registration of numbers on the National DNCL is permanent. Consumers can, at anytime check the National DNCL to find out if their number is on the list and, if they wish, have it removed.

There are two types of telemarketers: regular and exempt

Am I a regular telemarketer?

You are a regular telemarketer if you:

 Both you and the agency must follow the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules.

Calls made for the purpose of market research, polls or surveys are not considered telemarketing calls.

Am I an exempt telemarketer?

Certain telemarketing calls and faxes are exempt from the National DNCL rules, and those who make them are referred to as exempt telemarketers. Exempt telemarketers include:

Also exempt are companies who make telemarketing calls or send faxes only to consumers with whom they have an existing business relationship. A company has an existing business relationship with a consumer if the consumer:

Being an exempt telemarketer does not eliminate your responsibility to maintain your own internal do not call list.

Don't assume that your calls or faxes are exempt. For full details, see Part II of the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules and the Telecommunications Act.

Registration and subscription

All telemarketers must register with the National DNCL.  Even if you only make exempt calls or send exempt faxes, you must still register. Register online at www.LNNTE-DNCL.gc.ca. There is no charge for registration.

If you’re a regular telemarketer, you must purchase a subscription for the area codes you intend to call. Fees will be based on the subscription model you choose. You must also download the numbers from the National DNCL and delete them from your calling lists. The version of the National DNCL that you’re using must not be older than 31 days.

If you’re only making telemarketing calls or sending faxes that are exempt from the National DNCL, you don’t have to purchase a subscription to, or download, the National DNCL.

For more information, see Part II of the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules.

Rules all telemarketers must follow when making a call or sending a fax

Among other things, you must:

You must comply with the Telemarketing Rules at all times.

You must also comply with the Automatic Dialing and Announcing Device (ADAD) Rules, which are devices that dial telephone numbers automatically and deliver a pre-recorded message.

Other responsibilities

You’re responsible for making sure your calling lists are current and that you don’t call the home phone, cellular or fax numbers of consumers on the National DNCL.

You must also maintain your own internal do not call list even if you only make calls or send faxes that are exempt from the National DNCL. If a consumer asks not to be contacted, you must add their name and number to your own internal do not call list within 14 days. You can’t call or send faxes to the consumers on your own internal do not call lists.

Complaints and enforcement

Canadians can make a complaint through the National DNCL website (www.LNNTE-DNCL.gc.ca) or by calling the toll-free numbers 1-866-580-DNCL (1-866-580-3625) or 1-888-DNCL-TTY (1-888-362-5889).

The CRTC investigate complaints and can penalize telemarketers found to be in violation of the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules, which include the Telemarketing Rules, National DNCL Rules and Automatic Dialing and Announcing Device 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.

If you’re able to show that you exercised due diligence to prevent the violation, the judgment may be overturned. You’re also entitled to take your case to the Federal Court. For more information on the appeal process, refer to Telecom Decision CRTC 2007-48.

Checklist for regular telemarketers

If you engage in telemarketing for the purpose of solicitation, or hire an agency to do so for you:

Checklist for exempt telemarketers

If you engage in telemarketing:

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