Penalties totalling $369,000, parties to undertake comprehensive compliance programs
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced that it has issued seven notices of violation totalling $369,000 in penalties following a wide-ranging investigation into the use of robocalls by political parties, elected officials and telemarketers.
The CRTC received the cooperation of the following parties, firms and an individual who, further to settlement agreements, have paid penalties totaling $277,500: the Wildrose Alliance Political Association, the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, the New Democratic Party of Canada, RackNine Inc. and Mr. Marc Garneau, M.P.
“We appreciate the cooperation we received during our investigations,” said Andrea Rosen, the CRTC’s Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer. “We expect political party associations and candidates who are running for office to put appropriate safeguards in place to ensure compliance with the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules in future campaigns.”
In addition to paying monetary penalties, those who have cooperated with the CRTC have agreed to cease violating the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules and implement comprehensive compliance programs that will include:
- an acknowledgement of all applicable Rules and a commitment to comply fully with them
- the appointment of a compliance officer to ensure ongoing adherence with the Rules
- an education and training program for volunteers and appropriate compliance measures when using third-party firms to make calls
- appropriate record keeping, and
- the promotion of better awareness of the Rules.
The Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer has also issued notices of violation to the Conservative Party of Canada and Mr. Blake Richards, M.P., including penalties of $78,000 and $14,400, respectively. Under the CRTC’s process, the Conservative Party of Canada and Mr. Richards have 30 days to make representations or pay the penalty.
Automated calling devices are used to dial telephone numbers and automatically deliver a pre-recorded message. When these devices are used to make calls on behalf of candidates and political parties, the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules require that:
- Calls are to begin with a clear message identifying the person on whose behalf the call is made, including a mailing address and a local or toll-free number at which a representative of the originator of the message can be reached.
- Calls are to display the originating number or an alternate number where the originator of the call can be reached.
The CRTC continues to investigate other incidences of robocalls.
About the CRTC’s enforcement measures
The CRTC enforces the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules in order to reduce unwanted calls to Canadians. Under its enforcement process, the CRTC can discuss corrective actions with individuals, firms or organizations engaged in telemarketing, which may lead to a settlement that includes a monetary penalty and other corrective measures. The CRTC can also issue warnings and citations, conduct inspections and issue notices of violation.
To date, the CRTC’s efforts have yielded over $2.9 million in penalties, which are remitted to the Receiver General for Canada, and over $740,000 in payments to post-secondary institutions.
The CRTC is an administrative tribunal that regulates and supervises broadcasting and telecommunications in Canada.
OTTAWA-GATINEAU, May 29, 2013