Technology & Science

Telemarketers face 'do-not-call' axe on Sept. 30

Canadians will be able to give telemarketers the slip as of Sept. 30 when the national do-not-call-list officially begins operating.

Canadians will be able to give telemarketers the slip as of Sept. 30 when the national do-not-call-list officially begins operating.

Under the new rules, announced Wednesday by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, telemarketers will not be allowed to call anyone who registers either by phone with Bell Canada Inc., which is administering the list on behalf of the CRTC, or online.

Telemarketers will have a grace period of 31 days to contact people who have registered, but after that will be eligible for fines of $1,500 in the case of an individual or $15,000 for corporations should a registrant complain.

Bell will forward complaints to the CRTC, which decided to use a middle man in order to lighten its workload.

"We tried to delegate as much as possible," CRTC spokesman Denis Carmel said.

Registration will last three years, after which individuals will have to re-enter their information. Canadians can register landlines, cellphones and fax numbers.

However, many organizations will be exempted under the rules.

Charities, political parties, polling firms, newspapers and companies that have done business with an individual over the past 18 months can continue to make unsolicited phone calls. Canadians who do not wish to receive such calls can ask at the time of a call to be removed from the organization's list, or contact them ahead of time and request the same.

The CRTC's list has been criticized for allowing too many exceptions.

In March, an internet law professor at the University of Ottawa set up a website, iOptOut, that allows users to proactively prevent calls from organizations on the exception list. The site has a database that allows users to choose from the hundreds of excepted organizations and send them an automated e-mail removal request.