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Do Not Call List nears 11 million numbers

Do Not Call List nears 11 million numbers

STR/REUTERS

Almost 11 million telephone and fax numbers from across Canada are registered with a national program that blocks unwanted telemarketing calls and faxes.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said Tuesday that total registrations for the national Do Not Call List topped 10.8 million as of May 20, up from 9.5 million a year ago.

Complaints about telemarketers have totalled 542,873 since October, 2008, the CRTC said. Total complaints so far for 2012 add up to 50,176.

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The Do Not Call List, which launched in 2008, allows consumers to register residential, wireless, fax or Voice over Internet Protocol telephone numbers to reduce the number of nuisance sales calls and faxes they receive.

Registrations are valid for five years and can be renewed. Some businesses, though, are exempt from the program, including registered charities, newspapers, political parties and companies that have an existing relationship with a consumer.

Still, the CRTC can use an enforcement process to crack down on businesses that break the rules by issuing warnings, citations and notices of violation. The regulator has collected fines of more than $2.1-million since the program began.

The federal government, meanwhile, has said it wants telemarketers, and not the CRTC, to pay for the cost of the list's enforcement. It is consulting with industry to establish a new funding model that would take effect next spring.

While taxpayers have assumed the start-up costs of the Do Not Call List, Industry Minister Christian Paradis wants the program to become self-sufficient.

"For the consumer, there will be no difference, but it will no longer cost the government $3-million a year," Mr. Paradis told the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications earlier in the day, according to a transcript.

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