Emerging Best Practice in Do Not Call Registers (8 September 2009)

2.2. Canada

Canada established a National Do Not Contact List in 2005. The register was established by legislation[7] and is administered by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

The register covers residential, wireless, fax and VOIP numbers. More than 2.7 million numbers are registered.[8]

Telemarketers are required to submit each of their target numbers to the National DNCL and to remove any numbers that return a positive match. This approach protects individual privacy.

Unfortunately this approach was not in place when the register was first launched, and this resulted in significant problems during the first year of operation. For example, the complete list of registered users was initially released to telemarketers for a small fee, and this actually led to an increase in telemarketing calls. It is likely that the list was sold to overseas telemarketers and this information, once released, was difficult to retrieve. The Canadian register is therefore considered an example of how not to introduce a Do Not Call Register.

Numbers stay on the Canadian register for 5 years – renewal is required every 5 years or when phone numbers are reassigned. This renewal step is unnecessary and has been abandoned in other jurisdictions.

The Canadian register is in the early stages of operation and there has been little enforcement activity to date. In August 2009 the regulator issued fines against three small organisations for sending faxes to numbers on the register.[9] This resulted in some criticism that the regulator was failing to take action against major telemarketers.[10]

[7] An Act to amend the Telecommunications Act 2005 (Canada), <>.

[8] Number of registrations at July 2009 <>.

[9] Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) News release, The CRTC fines three telemarketers, August 26, 2009, <>.

[10] Toronto Star, No-call watchdog targets small fry telemarketers, 30 August 2009, <>.