The Do Not Call List and associated regulations will limit Ontario municipal candidates in their ability to
legally solicit voter support by telephone.
Effective September 30, 2008, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications
Commission (CRTC) launched the National Do Not Call List (DNCL). Canadians may register
on the List to reduce the number of telemarketing calls they receive. Businesses, organisations
and individuals wishing to make telemarketing calls are required to verify the numbers called do
not appear on the List and must comply with other restrictions. Exemptions from this restriction
apply for a municipal election but only if the calls are made on behalf of a registered political
party under provincial law.
In Ontario, with no municipal political parties, as written this means that should a candidate call
a number on the Do Not Call List to solicit volunteer or financial support, a complaint could be
lodged with the CRTC and a municipal candidate could be fined $1,500 per call under law. In
addition, municipal candidates or officials would be required to register with the CRTC prior to
making any telemarketing calls and be required to pay a subscription fee to access the List.
In early September AMO President Peter Hume wrote to Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry,
Josée Verner, Minister of Canadian Heritage, and the Chairman of the Canadian Radiotelevision
and Telecommunications Commission, urging that steps be taken to address this
issue. To date, no reply has been received.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) is leading the issue. To protect municipal
interests in the medium and long term, FCM will be filing a Part VII application with the CRTC to
add municipal candidates to the list of parties exempted from the DNCL provisions. Although it
is not yet clear how long this process will take, nor even whether it will be successful, it is clear
from their conversations with senior officials from the CRTC that there is a high degree of
awareness and sensitivity to municipal concerns. FCM is cautiously optimistic that this situation
can be rectified. It appears as if the potential impact on municipal elections was not intended by
the drafters of this law. FCM will be pursuing this with significant urgency, and will keep
municipalities informed throughout the process.
Action: For your information.
This information is available in the Policy Issues section of the AMO website at http://www.amo.on.ca.