10/28/2011 11:45 EDT | Updated 12/28/2011 05:12 EST

CTRC, Australia to co-chair new international do-not-call network

OTTAWA - Canada's telecommunications regulator and its Australian counterpart are co-chairing a new enforcement network aimed at curbing unwanted telemarketers.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission and the Australian Communications and Media Authority have assembled 12 enforcement agencies to launch an international do-not-call network.

Canada launched its own National Do Not Call List in September 2008.

The free service requires online registration and bars most telemarketers from dialling a number once it is on the list, imposing stiff fines if they do.

Members of the new network will meet annually to "facilitate co-operation and the exchange of best practices."

The group held its first meeting in Paris today, bringing together authorities from Canada, Australia, Britain, the United States, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand and Spain.

"Enforcement agencies face a common challenge in tracking down individuals and companies who violate telemarketing rules, but operate outside national borders," said CRTC chief Konrad von Finckenstein.

"A global problem calls for global solutions. Having a network that fosters collaboration will contribute to more effective cross-border enforcement activities and help reduce unwanted telephone calls to Canadians from foreign telemarketers."

In one such international co-operative effort, the CRTC recently struck an agreement with two telemarketers based in Mexico who were selling and promoting vacation packages to Canadians.

The telemarketers have agreed to abide by Canadian do-not-call rules and stop making unauthorized telemarketing calls to Canada.

In December 2010, Bell Canada was hit with a record $1.3-million penalty after the regulator found independent telemarketers hired by Bell in Canada and overseas made unsolicited calls to Canadians to sell TV, telephone and Internet services.

Call recipients included consumers who had signed up for the national do-not-call list or had asked Bell Canada to be put on the company's internal, no-calls list.