Complying with Canadian Call Center Laws

If your business handles telephone calls, such as customer service or telemarketing, in Canada, it is imperative that you follow legal guidelines about calling and privacy. Like most jurisdictions, Canada has laws and guidelines for companies that deal with consumer data. These regulations can be tricky, as there are exemptions and unique situations where data must be deleted. There are also registration requirements for certain businesses that handle customer phone calls, either outbound or inbound.

Call center laws or regulations generally deal with two main aspects of how an organization might interact with the public over the telephone. First, there is a focus on consumer privacy. Calls often involve personal information, such as financial or health concerns, and the Canadian government wants to ensure that consumers are protected. Secondly, call center activity in general is regulated, with such requirements as for registration and adherence to specific telemarketing rules.

To see how Canadian call center laws might impact your business, let's take a closer look at the applicable regulations and how these laws affect your choice of call center software and other unified communications solutions:

Canadian Phone Privacy Laws

The primary federal private sector privacy law is the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act(PIPEDA). PIPEDA applies to businesses that collect, use, or disclose personal information. The law's focus is on commercial activity. While this primarily means for-profit business calls, the law also applies to non-profit activity that is commercial in nature, such as membership drives and other phone-based fund-raising efforts.

PIPEDA protects personal information, which includes the following:

  • Name
  • Age
  • ID numbers
  • Income
  • Employee files
  • Credit reports
  • Medical records

This is not an exhaustive list and can include opinions, information on ethnicity, and even the existence of prior disputes between a consumer and a merchant. While the law's scope is broad, there are some exemptions, including government-handle information, business contact information, and the collection, use, or disclosure of certain personal information for journalistic, artistic, or literary purposes.

The language of PIPEDA follows the Model Code for the Protection of Personal Information, a voluntary, national standard for personal information protection that was developed over 20 years ago. This code covers responsibility, identification requirements, consent, and limitation of data collection, use, disclosure, and retention, among other things. The scope of these regulations encompass the following organizations:

  • Financial institutions
  • Retailers
  • Service providers
  • Direct marketers
  • Schools
  • Hospitals

This is not intended as an exhaustive list, as any organization that collects or uses personal information is covered. 

Call-center Registry Laws and Other Regulations

Beyond requirements for protecting personal data, organizations that interact with customers via telephone must also follow certain regulations. These include the National Do Not Call List (DNCL), and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's (CRTC) Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules. CRTC rules are further broken down to Automatic Dialing and Announcing Device Rules.

In order to determine which laws cover your organization, you must determine if you are a regular or exempt telemarketer. A regular telemarketer uses telecommunications to make solicitation calls. The regulations exempt market research, polls, and surveys from the list of covered telemarketing activities. Other exempt organizations include registered charities, newspapers soliciting subscriptions, political parties and candidates, and business-to-business solicitation. 

If you are a covered organization, you must register with the National DNCL and purchase a subscription for the area codes that you intend to call. You must also download the DNCL data and delete listed numbers from your calling lists. Calling rules include announcing your identification and providing a call back number for speaking to someone about the telemarketing call. 

These rules also specify time frames for data retention, such as a three year recordkeeping period for all call data. Telemarketers must also provide their name and the name of the organization on behalf of which the call is being made.

Compliance with these laws and other privacy requirements can be facilitated through a full-featured call center solution that integrates Customer Relationship Management (CRM) with communications. 8x8's Virtual Call Center and Unified Communications solutions are compliant with privacy regulations and can be configured to meet your business telemarketing needs. At 8x8, compliance and security are as important as reliability.

Call centers rely on their technology to empower them to be as productive as possible. With 8x8's Virtual Contact Center you get world class technology and everything your call center needs in one place. Call 1-866-879-8647 or fill out an online form to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 product specialist.

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