Penalties totalling $369,000, parties to undertake comprehensive
OTTAWA-GATINEAU, May 29, 2013 /CNW/ - Today, the Canadian
Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced
that it has issued seven notices of violation totalling 369,000$ 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
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.
Additional information on the violations
The Wildrose Alliance Political Association was issued a notice of violation in relation to six robocall campaigns
that occurred between March 2011 and November 2012. The campaigns
sought to determine voter preferences or opinions on various subjects.
The calls did not identify that they were being made on behalf of the
party or provide a mailing address.
The Wildrose Alliance Political Association cooperated fully with the
CRTC's investigation and once it became aware that the calls were in
violation of the Rules, it responded in a timely fashion to reach a
settlement. The settlement included a monetary penalty of $90,000 and a
commitment to establish a comprehensive compliance program to prevent
such occurrences in the future.
The Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario (Ontario PC Party) was issued a notice of violation in relation to two robocall campaigns
that occurred between September 1st and September 7th, 2011. The campaigns sought to determine voter preferences or opinions
on various subjects. The calls did not provide the party's clear name,
address, and local or toll-free contact telephone number, as required
by the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules."
The Ontario PC Party cooperated fully with the CRTC's investigation.
Upon learning that the calls were in violation of the Rules, it agreed
to enter into a settlement, which included a monetary penalty of
$85,000 and a commitment to establish a comprehensive compliance
program to ensure future adherence to the Rules.
RackNine Inc. was issued a notice of violation for 15 robocall campaigns it carried
out on behalf of a number of clients between March 2011 and February 1,
2013. RackNine is an Edmonton-based telemarketer that provides
automated calling services.
All of the calling campaigns included in the notice of violation were
carried out on behalf of political entities conducting polling,
surveying or political messaging campaigns. Although these entities
paid RackNine to perform services on their behalf and the information
conveyed or obtained in the calls was for their benefit, they were not,
contrary to the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules, identified in the
Prior to being contacted by the CRTC, RackNine was not aware that its
practices were in violation of the Rules. It provided information and
other cooperation to assist the CRTC with its investigation. As part of
a settlement agreement, RackNine has paid a monetary penalty of $60,000
and agreed to develop and implement a compliance program.
The New Democratic Party of Canada (NDP) was issued a notice of violation for robocalls made between January 11
and 20, 2012 in the electoral district of St-Maurice-Champlain, Quebec.
The calls provided an interactive function that connected call
recipients to the office telephone of a Member of Parliament who had
left the NDP to join another party. The calls in question did not
specify that they were being made on behalf of the NDP, nor did they
include the call originator's mailing address and contact telephone
The NDP acknowledged that the calls were in violation of the Unsolicited
Telecommunications Rules and cooperated fully with the CRTC's
investigation. The settlement reached with the NDP includes a monetary
penalty of $40,000 and a commitment to establish a comprehensive
compliance program to prevent future such occurrences.
Mr. Marc Garneau, Liberal Member of Parliament for Westmount-Ville-Marie, has been
issued a notice of violation for robocalls made in March 2013 in connection
with his candidacy for leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada. While
the calls in question identified the originator of the call and
provided contact information for Mr. Garneau's campaign, they did not,
as required by the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules, state at the
outset of the message that they were being made on his behalf and did
not include a mailing address. In light of this, Mr. Garneau has paid a
monetary penalty of $2,500 and agreed to establish a compliance program
to ensure future adherence to the Rules.
The Conservative Party of Canada was issued a notice of violation in relation to a robocall campaign that
occurred in Saskatchewan on January 31 and February 1, 2013. The
campaign involved proposed changes to electoral riding boundaries in
the province. The calls did not identify that they were being made on
behalf of the Conservative Party of Canada or provide a mailing
address. A monetary penalty in the amount of $78,000 was issued
following the CRTC's investigation. The party has 30 days to make
representations or pay the penalty.
Mr. Blake Richards, Conservative Member of Parliament for Wild Rose, has been issued a
notice of violation with a monetary penalty of $14,400. Two robocall
campaigns were carried out in his riding in August and October 2012.
The calls did not identify that they were being made on behalf of Mr.
Richards or provide a mailing address. Mr. Richards has 30 days to
make representations or pay the penalty.
Additional information on the CRTC's process
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.
Parties that have not reached a settlement and have received a notice of
violation may make written representations to the CRTC within 30 days
of receipt to have it reviewed (further to paragraph 72.07(2)(b) of the
Telecommunications Act). If they choose to make representations relating to the amount of the
penalties set out in a notice, such representations must include the
most recent audited financial statements of the entity named in a
notice. If audited financial statements are unavailable, they are to
provide unaudited financial statements signed by a senior officer of
the entity named in the notice, attesting to the accuracy of the
Further to paragraph 72.07(2)(c) and subsection 72.08(3) of the Act, if entities do not pay the penalty specified in a notice OR make representations in accordance with a notice, they will be deemed to
have committed the violations outlined in a notice, and the CRTC may
impose the penalty.
Further to subsection 72.08(1) of the Act, if full payment of the
specified amount is received, entities will be deemed to have committed
the violations. Payment will be accepted in complete satisfaction of
the penalty and no further action will be taken.
Payment or representations must be actually received, not merely sent,
by the date set out in the notice.
Where representations are not made, any penalty not paid by the due date
will be assessed interest on the unpaid amount beginning on the due
date and ending on the day before the day on which payment is received
by the CRTC. The CRTC will charge interest calculated and compounded
monthly at the average bank rate plus three percent (3%). The CRTC will
pursue collection measures for any amounts owing after the due date,
which may include setting-off such amounts against any refunds-owing to
the debtor by the Canada Revenue Agency.
SOURCE: Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
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