The Canadian Marketing Association (CMA) wasted no time in decrying the CRTC’s new rules for telemarketing in Canada. In the immediate wake of the commission releasing Telecom Decision 2004-35, the CMA distributed a media advisory expressing its disappointment that the CRTC didn’t mandate a national do-not-call list. In the release, the CMA writes: "The CRTC has had more three years to study this issue since calling for comments and proposals. In view of its decision not to take action, it is now up to the Parliament of Canada to move as quickly as possible to mandate the establishment of a national do-not-call service." The advisory notes that the fate of 270,000 Canadians and more than $16 billion in sales annually rest on the establishment of a compulsory registry as annoyance with telemarketing calls grows. The CRTC, however, has expressed uncertainty as to whether it has the legal authority to enforce the provisions of a national do-not-call list. It says the matter requires more study, though the idea has "considerable merit." Wording in 2004-35, and in subsequent public comments by CRTC officials, suggests that the commission is on board with a national list, and considers the measures it took May 21 as just a first step. Ed Cartwright, director of communications for the CMA, tells Network Letter that the association has been pushing for a do-not-call list since November 2001, and would welcome an opportunity to begin discussions with the regulator on how it could play a role in setting one up and administering it. In its decision, the CRTC notes that early comment by the CMA indicated "serious questions" by the association surrounding a national list, such as funding the system, responsibility for operations and its application and affordability for small businesses. Cartwright says it’s true the CMA had reservations, but that there has been no discussion for three years with the CRTC on creating a list along the lines proposed by the association. The CRTCs’ mention of CMA reservations, he adds, are not at odds with its current position strongly in favour of a national registry. Rather, the CMA didn’t have time to prepare a full business case for its proposal when the CRTC issued its initial call for comments - Telecom PN 2001-34 (NL, March 12/01). The CMA has since laid some of the groundwork. Cartwright notes, for instance, that it now proposes a $5 per line fee to be paid by phone subscribers every three years - to coincide with Canadians’ average moving cycles - to set up the registry, and new rules to protect companies from restrictions when dealing with established clients. Further progress will likely have to wait until the CRTC solidifies its legislative ground. The commission notes in its decision that it has the power to deny phone service to parties that break its rules, and the power to prosecute. But, it says, it has no power to fine offenders. Unlike other government departments and agencies that have the ability to impose administrative monetary penalites (AMPs) - similar to fines - the commission doesn’t have a comparable power. It writes: "The commission is of the view that, if it had an AMP power, this would greatly increase the effectiveness of its telemarketing enforcement powers. Such a fining power would enable the commission to directly affect the bottom-line of a non-compliant telemarketer through the application of penalties that would be proportional to the frequency and severity of the infractions. The commission also considers that such a power would have a significant deterrent effect." Cartwright indicates that the CMA will work to bring about the needed changes in Parliament, though he says the association is still examining the decision. The CRTC won’t actively lobby the government for legislative change, acting director of consumer affairs Mario Bertrand tells NL. Bertrand says the ball is now in the government’s court. "We sent our message through the decision." In the U.S., where the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has instituted a national list, tens of millions of numbers have been registered to stop receiving calls, along with tens of thousands of complaints of breaches. This winter, the registry survived a legal challenge by telemarketers against the FCC’s jurisdiction to create the mandatory list.