In just less than two months from now, Canada's new Do Not Call registry will go live. This new regulation, and others, will have at last some enforcement teeth in the way of steep fines. These methods will help clean up the telemarketing industry that unfortunately like any other field has a few bad actors, poor managers, and greedy companies. Telemarketers will also benefit by using the DNC to generate a higher lead/sale per prospect ratio by not calling people who clearly don't want to buy by phone.
Canada has of course the benefit of learning from over 10 years of US experience, at the state and national levels, with blanket DNC registries. And as such there are some key differences between them, two of which is that the Canadian DNC has a three year time limit--it is up to consumers to renew their listings--and that there is only one government level and agency, the federal CRTC, responsible for telemarketing regulations rather than two, as in the US, and the provinces are not involved, unlike individual states, whose added rules make compliance a headache.
(Yes, the states serve as the 'incubators' of US federalism--they did take the lead on formulating the blanket DNC list--but once the creatures are hatched they should be put under the wing of the national government to make sure everyone flies together well)
There is a great synopsis of key aspect of the Canadian regs in the Outbound Call Center Community section on TMCnet.com. The September issue of Customer Interaction Solutions will have a more in-depth discussion on Canadian telemarketing regulations.
There are also many similarities between the Canadian and American Do Not Call lists. One of the ones not mentioned in the online article is the tussle between telemarketers who want less restrictions and consumer advocates who want more. The media reports frequently cite the latter's familiar litany of too many DNC exemptions, such as for political parties, charities, and newspapers. Yet there have not been too many squawks from the former, namely because the Canadian Marketing Association has been astutely much more savvy in approaching such hot issues than its US counterparts.
The CMA, as is typical in Canadian business and political practices, is more behind the scenes, less willing to go to the barricades as was the ATA in the US. It saw which way the tide was going. Its method is not trying to mimic King Canute by telling the tide what to do, but instead veer the flow so that it would minimize the damage to its members. For example it had the most controversial of the Canadian legislation's original requirements, i.e. allowing businesses to also register on the DNC, removed from the regulations, by pointing out that only a minority of businesses wanted it and that it is difficult in business conversation to know when telemarketing starts or ends.
Canada will no doubt continue to refine its new telemarketing rules, going forward as the US has done. One suggestion both governments should look at to resolve the exemption issue is prohibit solicitation calling to unpublished numbers unless there is express consent i.e. treat them like cell and fax numbers. People who go out of their way and expense to get their number unlisted clearly don't want to be called, for any reason, so don't bug them. That will leave a smaller but more willing universe of consumers who may be happy that you called.