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Canada's Do Not Call List Effective, Popular Despite Problems

March 10, 2009

Canada’s national Do Not Call List (DNCL) appears to be fairly effective and quite popular despite abuses by some telemarketers.
 
Eighty percent of Canadians who had registered a phone number on the DNCL say they now receive fewer telemarketing calls than before the list came into effect on Sept.30, 2008 according to a new survey by the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association (MRIA).
 
The survey, the first to track the effectiveness of the DNCL since its launch, reveals that 50 percent of those who have registered report they now receive noticeably fewer or far fewer telemarketing calls while 20 percent say they now get slightly fewer telemarketing calls. At the same time 10 percent report seeing/hearing no telemarketing calls at all since signing on to the no-call list.
 
The MRIA reports that some 33 percent of Canadians have registered their residential landlines on the DNCL while 12 percent have listed their cell number(s) on the screening database. Eighty-four percent of adults are aware of the DNCL, which is administered and enforced by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
 
DNCL popularity is highest in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province with 41 percent signing on, followed by Alberta at 39 percent while neighboring British Columbia is home to the lowest percentage of registrants at 22 percent.
 
Registering numbers on the DNCL has not been, however, a cure-all for unwanted inquiries. Some 13 percent of registrants report that they are now receiving more telemarketing calls than before they registered their numbers.
 
MRIA Executive Director Brendan Wycks believes these violations are due to an upswing in what he calls random dialers that ring up numbers whether they are on the list or not around the time the DNCL came into effect. He also points to media reports of ‘rogue telemarketers’ many of whom are from the U.S., driven by the recession that has caused them to look for new business by targeting Canadians.
 
An examination of the survey data shows that the rogues appear to be aiming at the more affluent Western provinces. 23 percent of Albertan and 22 percent of British Columbian DNCL registrants report that they now receive more telemarketing calls than before the registry went live, followed by 15 percent each of Saskatchewan and Manitoba registrants.
 
The research, conducted for the MRIA’s VoxPop (Voice of the People) survey by Harris-Decima took place between Jan. 29 and Feb.15, 2009. It is part of a series from VoxPop MRIA’s campaign to give voice to Canadians and which demonstrates how public opinion research strengthens Canada’s democracy by giving people a say in decisions by governments and corporations.
 
The MRIA says the unwanted call upswings clearly demonstrate the need for rigorous enforcement of penalties for rogue telemarketers who persist in telephoning people who have registered with the DNCL.
 
 “The survey shows clearly that Canada’s National Do Not Call List is benefiting the great majority of registrants by stemming unwanted telemarketing calls,” says Wycks. “Unfortunately, many of these unscrupulous telemarketers don’t care, or are oblivious to the fact that some of the people they are calling with their automated dialing systems are registered on Canada’s National Do Not Call List.”

Brendan B. Read is TMCnet’s Senior Contributing Editor. To read more of Brendan’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jessica Kostek

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