04/02/2012 06:40 EDT | Updated 06/02/2012 05:12 EDT

CRTC Raps Telemarketers For Do-Not-Call Violations


The CRTC has taken action against 85 companies for breaking telemarketing rules designed to protect Canadians from unwanted phone calls.

Canada's telecom regulator said Monday it had issued citations to 74 telemarketers who had failed to either register with the national do-not-call list operator or subscribe to the do-not-call list.

Another 11 companies were assessed administrative monetary penalties totalling $41,000 for more significant breaches, the CRTC said. The regulator explained the relatively modest penalties by noting that many of the telemarketers were small businesses.

Previous penalties against larger companies have been much much higher. Last summer, GoodLife Fitness was fined $300,000 for using automated calling devices, known as robocalls, to contact its members without their prior consent.

In December 2010, the CRTC announced it had fined Bell Canada $1.3 million for making calls to Canadians who had registered on the do-not-call list.

The CRTC has levied $2.1 million in fines against telemarketers since the rules were established in 2008.

"Today's announcement should serve as a reminder that registering as a telemarketer is a basic requirement," said Andrea Rosen, the CRTC's chief compliance and enforcement officer. "Anyone making telemarketing calls to Canadians while not registered and subscribed to the list is strongly encouraged to come into compliance as soon as possible."

The do-not-call list currently includes 10.6 million phone numbers, the CRTC says.