CRTC Seeks Public Comment on Complaints Commission and Do-Not-Call Investigations

The CRTC has released two public notices seeking commentary on the Telecom Complaints Commission and its plans to delegate investigative responsibility for the do-not-call registry.  The Complaints Commission notice calls for public comment on the plan developed by the major telecommunications companies for a complaints commissioner (I earlier criticized the process behind the creation of the commission).  The CRTC raises many of the right issues, including whether participation should be mandatory, whether the governance structure is sufficiently independent, and whether the complaint process and remedies are adequate.  Anyone interested in participating in the process must inform the CRTC by September 13th and submit their comments by October 1st. Hearings are set for mid-November with a final decision by late February 2008.

The one surprising element in the complaints commission notice links to the second notice – the delegation of investigative responsibility for the do-not-call registry. 
The CRTC has given notice that intends to delegate responsiblity for investigating complaints related to the do-not-call registry to a third party, who will be permitted to charge fees (which will be regulated by the CRTC) for such investigations.  The Commission plans to require all telemarketers and clients of telemarketers to register with the do-not-call registry operator to help facilitate complaints and pay the applicable fees.  The CRTC is seeking comment on these issues, including the prospect that that the Telecom Complaints Commission could also serve as the third party investigative organization for the do-not-call registry.  This notice features similar timelines  – September 11th to indicate interest in participating, October 1st for the submission, and February 29, 2008 for a decision.  That last date is the first clear indication that the do-not-call registry will not be operational in Canada until 2008 at the earliest.

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