As part of its stated commitment to crack down on telemarketing
violations, the CRTC announced on August 23,
2011, that GoodLife Fitness Centres has paid a penalty
of $300,000 as part of a settlement with the CRTC over violations
of telemarketing rules.
Part IV of the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules prohibit the
use of Automatic Dialing-Announcing Devices (ADADs) for
solicitation purposes, unless a consumer has provided express
consent to receive telemarketing calls via ADAD technology.
ADADs are defined to mean automatic equipment with the capability
of storing or producing numbers, used alone or in conjunction with
other equipment to convey a pre-recorded or synthesized voice
message to a telecommunications number.
An investigation by the CRTC found that between May 1, 2010 and
December 15, 2010 GoodLife violated the ADAD rule 60 times by using
"robocalls" to notify customers of new club openings and
invite them to grand opening events. In addition to an
administrative penalty of $5000 per violation, Goodlife's
negotiated settlement with the CRTC will require it to issue a
public apology and help organize a business event with the CRTC for
the purpose of fostering compliance with telemarketing
When considering the use of robocall technology, organizations
should be aware that such calls are treated distinctly from live
voice telemarketing, which is generally permitted (subject to
certain restrictions), unless the call recipient is on the National Do Not Call List
(DNCL). By contrast, the use of ADADs for solicitation is
generally prohibited, unless the consumer explicitly
consents. The ADAD rules also apply whether or not a call
recipient is on the DNCL, and apply to a number of types of calls
that are generally not subject to the DNCL, such as telemarketing
calls by charities.
It is also worth noting that "solicitation" is defined
broadly to include any attempt to sell or promote a product or
service, or any attempt to solicit money or donations, including on
behalf of a charity. Even where the communication is not for
solicitation purposes the rules impose further restraints on ADADs,
such as a prohibition on sequential dialing and time-of-day
Since 2006, when amendments to the Telecommunications Act
came into force, giving the CRTC the power to impose Administrative
Monetary Penalties, telemarketing investigations have resulted in
penalties of $2.84 million (of which $740,000 has been paid, under
settlement terms, to post-secondary institutions), with a number of
significant and high profile fines in the past 10 months. The
Act allows for penalties of up to $15,000 for each
contravention, and each violation that continues on more than one
day constitutes a separate violation.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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