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Canada's telecommunications regulator is grappling with "funding challenges" related to the national Do Not Call List that could see the program run out of cash by the end of March.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission made the disclosure in its latest quarterly financial report, noting that it has relied on interim measures to fund the program's investigation and enforcement functions on a year-to-year basis.

According to the CRTC's financial report for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2011, a total of $3-million was earmarked for 2010-11 and 2011-12.

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"Although funding has been approved to the end of March 31, 2012, no funding has been identified beyond this period," says the CRTC's report. "The lack of long-term funding for the DNCL continues to be a challenge for work force stability and staff retention."

The report also warns that the federal government's current era of belt-tightening, which has led to a freeze in operating budgets, could affect funding for the program along with anti-spam initiatives.

"The CRTC, Industry Canada, and central agencies continue to work together to explore funding solutions and establish an ongoing source of funding," the report added. "Failure to obtain additional funding beyond 2011-12 will put the continued operation of this activity at risk."

The CRTC's National Do Not Call List was launched in 2008.

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