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On February 15, 2012, an $18,000 “administrative monetary penalty” or “AMP” was imposed by the CRTC on a British Columbia telemarketing company, Imperial Data Supply Corp. (“Imperial”).

The Commission found that six telemarketing calls were made to consumers that were (or should) have been on Imperial’s internal do not call list, violating the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules, and that six fax telemarketing calls were made without being registered with the Do Not Call List.

The CRTC has the legislative authority to impose AMPs on any telemarketer that violates the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules.  The maximum penalty for a violation is $1,500 (for individuals) and $15,000 (for corporations).  Violations that continue for more than a day are separate violations.

In making the decision, the Commission also considered whether Imperial had established a due diligence defense (subsection 72.1(1) of the Telecommunications Act provides a defense for a person in a proceeding relating to a violation to show that they exercised due diligence to prevent the violation) and whether the amount of the AMP imposed was reasonable.

In rejecting Imperial’s due diligence defense, the CRTC found that while it made submissions regarding the occurrence of periodic errors, and took the position that they were not systematic, it had failed to submit any evidence of reasonable steps or business practices to prevent the violations.  The CRTC also pointed to notifications by Commission staff for Imperial to renew its registration and its continuation to make telemarketing calls after the expiration of its registration.

With respect to the amount of the AMP, the CRTC noted that the financial health of a company is not a relevant factor in determining whether to impose (or reduce) a penalty and refused to reduce the AMP imposed in this case.  The Commission pointed to, among other things, evidence of notifications of Imperial’s obligations to maintain an internal do not call list under the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules and its failure to do so.

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