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May 31, 2013

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Fines Seven Organizations

By Monica Gleberman, Contributing Writer

Seven federal parties in Canada are facing fines after they sent political robocalls to the masses, an action that is mot compliant with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission rules.

Two federal parties, two provincial parties, two MPs and RackNine, an Edmonton-based company in the automated calling business. are facing a total of $369,000 in fines for not immediately and clearly informing robocall respondents who the messages were sponsored by, or providing a contact address and phone number. 

“We take this issue rather seriously because of the egregiousness of the type of call that we’re involved in here,” said CRTC Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer Andrea Rosen.

Alberta’s Wildrose party confirmed it was one of the parties that failed to remain complaint and had to pay a $90,000 penalty for calls made between March 2011 and November 2012. The party received the hefty fine in response to a series of six calls made to almost our million people during those 20 months.

Additionally, conservative MP Blake Richards was fined $14,000, the federal conservatives were fined $78,000, and progressive conservatives were also hit with a $85,000 fine. Liberal MP Marc Garneau paid $2,500 in fines, the federal NDP paid $40,000, and RackNine settled for $60,000. All of the penalties were for campaigns that the CRTC deemed improper.

Rosen said although seven parties are currently facing fines, the investigation is nowhere near completed. He added, “We have looked at many other firms that have engaged in robocalling and have breeched the rules. This is an ongoing interest in this particular area because we do believe Canadians have a right to know who’s calling them and that we are looking for compliance.”

Although nothing has been formally announced, Rosen did confirm that the CRTC is looking into other organizations. “There are other matters under investigation and all I can say is, stay tuned,” he concluded.

Edited by Jamie Epstein
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