Skip to main content

A CRTC logo is shown in Montreal, Monday, September 10, 2012, on the opening day of the CRTC hearings into the proposed acquisition of Astral Media Inc., by BCE/Bell Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Graham Hughes/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Nearly seven years after the launch of the National Do Not Call List, Canada's federal telecommunications regulator has made a public call for ideas to combat so-called caller ID "spoofing," a technical trick that facilitates many of the unwanted calls still bombarding households.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission began a public consultation on Tuesday, looking for "new and innovative solutions" to block unsolicited telemarketing calls and scams.

In particular, the CRTC is hunting for answers to systems that use caller ID spoofing and display false telephone numbers, in some cases appropriating legitimate numbers that belong to businesses or households. Spoofing circumvents the Do Not Call List and helps offending callers avoid being punished with fines.

Story continues below advertisement

Since the Do Not Call List was launched in the fall of 2008, 12.8 million phone numbers have been added. Canadians have lodged 900,000 complaints of alleged breaches of the rules since then, an estimated 40 per cent of which involved spoofing.

Scams and illegal telemarketing remain a major source of frustration to telephone customers across the country. The CRTC has levied more than $6.2-million in fines and issued more than 190 warning letters.

But it has also conducted more than 1,500 investigations and it noted that it is hard work catching offenders. In March, the CRTC revealed it had fined nine Greater Toronto Area companies telemarketing duct cleaning and home services a total of $149,000, but it said the investigation was "lengthy and labour-intensive."

"Canadians are very frustrated with telemarketers who hide their identity or misappropriate the legitimate numbers of Canadians and businesses," Jean-Pierre Blais, the CRTC's chairman, said in a statement.

"Following this consultation, we will be publishing guidance material to empower Canadians to make informed choices for themselves and their families."

The CRTC is asking the telecommunications industry to provide a summary of current options and features to block such calls by Sept. 4. The public consultation is open to comments until Oct. 16.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter