September 30, 2008

Do Not Call List Rush in Canada

Canadians tired of unsolicited telemarketer phone calls rushed Tuesday to register with a national Do Not Call List, telecommunications regulators said.

Nearly 400,000 people registered by late afternoon of the list's first day, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, which regulates the list, told United Press International.

The volume of requests was so great, with more than 1.5 million attempted registrations, that the online and telephone systems were overwhelmed by the volume, the spokeswoman told UPI.

The CRTC was working to enhance its Web server and phone system, but could not offer a date or time when the systems would be upgraded, she said.

If a residential, wireless, fax or voice-over-Internet protocol phone number is put on the list, telemarketers are barred from calling that number within 31 days, or face a fine of up to $15,000 if they do call.

Exceptions include calls from charities, political parties, newspapers selling subscriptions and organizations with which the consumer has an existing business relationship, the CRTC spokeswoman told UPI.

The regulator set out rules for the list in July 2007 and awarded BCE Inc.'s Bell Canada a five-year contract to operate the list.

The telemarketing industry criticized the list, saying its online registration could let hackers upload entire phone books.

Registration is done online at or by phone at 1-866-580-3625.