The issue of exemptions to a national Do-Not-Call (DNC) telemarketing registry was raised during CRTC hearings into the matter on May 2 to 4.  Groups representing financial advisors, bankers and insurance companies want the commission to consider making additional exemptions for such things as: referrals, business-to-business calls, and friends, family and acquaintances. Even the Canadian Marketing Association supports an exemption for businesses.  The association of Canadian financial advisors, Advocis, pressed the commission for the introduction of a new exemption regarding referrals. Gary McLeod, chair of the national board of the organization, said personal referrals are the "foundation upon which professional financial advisors develop their client base and occur only when an advisor and client have an existing bridge of trust." Primerica Financial Services of Canada asked for a similar exemption with respect to friends, family and acquaintances. This concept falls within the common sense, according to the group. "For us, we would ask that you put in writing what we intuitively expect," Suzanne Loomis said.  Common sense didn’t seem to resonate with commissioners as some questioned the merits of making such an exemption. Commissioner Barbara Cram asked if a referral exemption would be allowed if two people met at a cocktail party. Loomis said yes. Under US law, she added, it would be up to the person called to make a complaint, though.  The business exemption also received a fair amount of attention during the hearings. Wally Hill, VP of public affairs at the CMA, said under questioning that allowing businesses to register on the national DNC would make it more difficult for businesses to operate. "I think this exercise has been about addressing a concern, a growing concern, amongst Canadian consumers in their home life," he said. "I don’t believe that the same situation applies to the business-to-business environment."  Commissioner Stuart Langford questioned the merits of such an exemption, noting that Parliament studied the issue and opted not to include a carve-out for businesses. "If you are only getting a small percentage of complaints a year, shouldn’t Joe’s Pizza, who only has one line, be able to say, I just don’t want any more of these calls?" he asked. "What can be simpler than all consumers of services and goods having the same protection from annoyance, which is what this is all about? And you are saying, ‘Well, you get one level of protection if you are in a house and another level of protection if you in an office.’" The Canadian Bankers Association is also in favour of an exemption of businesses. "We believe, from a policy perspective, that this is meant to be a consumer protection measure, not a business protection measure," Linda Routledge, director of consumer affairs with the CBA, said in response to a question from CRTC vice-chair Richard French.  He noted that if a complaint was lodged by a business, the answer of the commission would be that there was an exemption passed and businesses aren’t allowed to register for inclusion on the national DNC.  It should come as no surprise that additional exemptions became the hot-button issue during the hearings. The Canadian Newspaper Association was successful in securing an exemption for newspapers, so it stands to reason that other groups would try to get their wish list included as well.  Some would argue the legislation as it stands is unworkable because of the number of exemptions, and adding more would render a national DNC registry virtually useless.