Telemarketers to pay for Do Not Call enforcement

OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail

The government wants telemarketers, not the CRTC, to shoulder the full cost of the Do Not Call List, says Alberta MP Mike Lake. (Chris Wattie/Reuters/Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Ottawa is moving to make telemarketers pay for the cost of enforcing the national Do Not Call List.

The federal government plans to consult with the industry in the coming months and put in place a permanent funding mechanism effective April 1 next year. The plan was laid out in the voluminous budget implementation bill, tabled last week in the House of Commons.

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The government wants telemarketers, not the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, to shoulder the full cost of the Do Not Call List, explained Alberta MP Mike Lake, parliamentary secretary to Industry Minister Christian Paradis.

“The program is working,” Mr. Lake said in an interview. “We want to make sure that system is sustainable in the long term.”

Mr. Lake would not say what options are on the table for recouping the cost of enforcement and investigating violators, adding that the funding mechanism would be determined in consultation with the industry.

The CRTC, which currently pays for the program, was poised to run out of federal funding for it at the end of March. Earlier this year, Ottawa put in place short-term financing to keep it running for another year.

The list now includes 10.7 million Canadian telephone numbers. Mr. Lake said he did not know the total cost of operating and enforcing the list.

The CRTC has levied fines of more than $2-million since the list was set up in 2010.

Telemarketers are required to register with the Do Not Call List and then refrain from placing calls to consumers who register their telephone and fax numbers.