Bill C-37, the do-not-call bill, is now law in Canada. Much to seemingly everyone' s surprise, the Senate put the bill on the fast track last week and granted it the necessary approvals. Supreme Court Justice Michel Bastarache gave it royal assent late on Friday, minutes before the Senate adjourned. While the Liberals will likely point to the do-not-call legislation as a noteworthy accomplishment, I would argue that it is more realistically an example of how it ultimately caved to a wide range of lobbying interests, leaving behind a statute that will do little to address the problem of annoying telemarketing calls.
The law itself will take effect only once a date is set by the Governor in Council. The statute also includes a mandatory review three years after it comes into force.
The same organizations can still call me
It seems like the bill specifically exempts the majority of current telephone soliciting callers:
– Newspaper subscriptions
– People with an existing/former business relationship. (eg. calls from Rogers and Bell to upsell their existing services).
It’s a shame, because I’ve had perhaps 2 calls in the past year that do not fall into one of those categories. And in my view it’s precisely the callers above who should be encouraged to find other less intrusive ways of connecting with customers/donors.
There are no reasonable arguments for such voice-spam intrusions, pre-existing commercial relationship or not; just lobbyists. Nor are there any for spam faxing or, indeed, for subsidizing bulk mail. If these avenues were not open to advertisers, they would use only traditional advertising, some of which support socially useful journalism. So if you want to encourage regular domestic media, instead of subsidizing annoyance-based business with wholly or partly externalized costs, simply permit them to be allowed for opt-ins only. You want junk mail/faxes/phone or email spam? Be my guest. Just leave the 99.9% rest of us alone.