CRTC steps up fight against nuisance calls in Canada

News release

December 19, 2018– Ottawa-Gatineau – Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)

The CRTC today took further steps to reduce the number of unsolicited and illegitimate calls Canadians receive. To offer Canadians an additional level of protection, telecommunications service providers must implement a system to block calls within their networks by December 19, 2019.

With the implementation of such a system, calls with caller identification (caller ID) information that either exceeds 15 digits or does not conform to a number that can be dialed (for example, 000-000-0000) will be blocked before reaching the subscriber.

Providers that offer their subscribers call-filtering services, which provide more advanced call-management features, will not have this obligation.


“The CRTC is taking a variety of actions to tackle nuisance calls. We are confident that this latest decision will help reduce the number of illegitimate calls Canadians are forced to deal with regularly. A call-blocking system will provide them with an additional level of protection, while ensuring they continue to receive legitimate calls, and encourage providers to continue their work on this issue.”

- Ian Scott, Chairperson and CEO of the CRTC

Quick facts

  • Caller ID spoofing occurs when callers hide or misrepresent their identity by displaying fictitious phone numbers when making calls.

  • There may be legitimate reasons to modify caller ID information. For instance, police services or domestic abuse shelters can use spoofing to hide the origin of the call.

  • Voice over Internet Protocol services and spoofing technology give calling parties the ability to display any caller identification information. Rogue actors can conceal their true identity or deceive Canadians into believing that the call is from a known or trusted caller.

  • Filtering services would provide consumers with optional services that could take certain actions to manage suspect nuisance calls on their behalf

  • The Commission directed telecommunications service providers to track the number of customer complaints they receive regarding nuisance calls.

  • This decision is part of an array of measures tackling nuisance and unsolicited calls. The CRTC also published the following decision in the fight against nuisance calls: 2016-442 and 2018-32.

  • The CRTC continues to work with its domestic and international partners to address unsolicited and illegitimate telemarketing calls.

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