CRTC Announces $200,000 Penalty Against Canadian Company Violating the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules via African Call Centers

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced that CA Diffusion entered into a settlement and will pay a $200,000 penalty for violating Canada’s Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules between September 2018 and July 2019 by making non-compliant telemarketing calls.

The CRTC investigation found that CA Diffusion committed several violations by placing millions of unsolicited calls to Canadians:

  • To numbers registered on the National Do Not Call List (DNCL);
  • Outside permissible calling hours; or
  • During periods CA Diffusion failed to purchase a National DNCL subscription.

The CRTC noted that CA Diffusion relied on call centers located in Africa (Senegal and Morocco), noting that telemarketers must “comply with the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules, whether based in Canada or abroad, and whether they make the calls themselves or hire a third-party agency to do it for them.” The Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules, promulgated pursuant to Telecommunications Act § 41, apply to any unsolicited telecommunications, including telemarketing calls.

How the CRTC Handles Violations and Non-Compliance

The CRTC may apply administrative monetary penalties (AMPs) or other corrective measures when dealing with such violations. The CRTC takes non-compliance and violations seriously, but also has a policy of first promoting and monitoring compliance, noting AMPs are an “additional tool . . . to promote compliance” whose purpose is “to promote compliance, and not to punish non-compliance.”

Because CA Diffusion “cooperated with [the CRTC] investigation, voluntarily entered into an agreement[,] and has implemented corrective measures to ensure compliance with the rules,” the total penalty was likely less than the possible maximum AMP.

Please contact our firm with assistance if you are facing a CRTC investigation or have questions about your compliance obligations, including pursuant to the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules.

If you have questions about the applicability of Canada’s Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules, CRTC investigations, or other CRTC compliance and applicability questions, please reach out to Ivan Zajicek at 703-714-1310 or isz@commlawgroup.com.

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