Know Your Rights

VoIP in Canada - Laws and Regulations You Should Know About

Written by Arthur
May 29, 2023
5 Mins Read

Canadian businesses are moving from legacy systems to modern VoIP phone solutions like their U.S. counterparts. The VoIP market is growing fast, and the government is paying attention. Canada has extensive VoIP laws, and in this guide, we give you an overview of the laws and a few considerations you might want to know.

What is a VoIP phone system?

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a technology that allows you to make calls over the internet.

The calls themselves work exactly like your legacy phone systems, except VoIP uses the internet to connect your call.

You can make VoIP calls from anywhere worldwide as long as you have an internet connection. This means you don’t have to pay expensive roaming fees — and with rising roaming charges, VoIP can save you a decent amount of money.

Who Regulates VoIP in Canada?

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) regulates telecommunication services (including VoIP service providers) in Canada.

The CRTC operates under the Telecommunications Act and Broadcasting Act. It’s an independent regulatory body held accountable by the Parliament.

CRTC’s objectives are drawn from The Telecommunications Act, which outlines the legal framework for regulating Canada’s telecom services. Here are the objectives of CRTC:

  • Facilitate the development and operation of telecom services
  • Promote competition among telecom service provider
  • Ensure access to the best-in-class telecom services at affordable rates

In addition to the Telecommunications Act, the CRTC has laid out several policies and regulations to govern VoIP services and service providers.

Canadian VoIP Licensing Requirements

Canadian VoIP services need to acquire a license from the CRTC before starting operations. CRTC can issue two types of licenses for VoIP in Canada:

  • Class 1 licenses are applicable to service providers that render services through telecom infrastructure they own themselves, such as network switches and routers.
  • Class 2 licenses are applicable to service providers that render services through telecom infrastructure leased from other companies, like an internet service provider (ISP).

CRTC grants one of these licenses once a VoIP service provider can demonstrate that they meet the necessary technical, financial, and operational minimums, including:

  • Technical standards for QoS, network architecture, and reliability
  • A good enough financial position to reliably sustain their telecom services
  • Adequate standard operational procedures for support, billing, and grievance redressal

Privacy and Security Concerns

VoIP services transmit voice data over the internet, which comes with privacy and security concerns. 

Fortunately, the Canadian government has also created necessary regulations to protect users’ privacy and security. A Canadian citizen’s privacy when using telecom services is protected by the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

The scope of PIPEDA as a whole is bigger. It applies to all businesses that collect, use, or disclose personal data for commercial use, including VoIP services that collect customer data such as name, address, and phone number.

PIPEDA requires companies to get consent from users before collecting, using, or disclosing personal data. Companies also need to have adequate controls in place to maintain the integrity of users’ personal data.

Like PIPEDA, CRTC also requires VoIP services to have adequate security in place to shield their networks against unauthorized use. CRTC’s security-related regulations for VoIP In Canada include:

  • Must implement security frameworks, such as firewalls, encryption, and intrusion detection systems
  • In case of a security breach, the VoIP service provider must alert the CRTC and relevant customers
  • Must maintain security incident records and a record of the measures taken to address those incidents

Other Legal Considerations

Here are a few miscellaneous legal considerations for VoIP service providers in Canada:

  • Emergency 911 services: All customers must have access to 911 emergency services via their service provider, including location information, so emergency responders can act fast when they receive calls for assistance.
  • Number portability: VoIP services must allow porting-in facility, i.e., users should be able to start using a VoIP service using their existing number. Number portability allows users to switch between VoIP service providers without worrying about losing an important phone number. This promotes competition in the marketplace.
  • Net neutrality: Net neutrality promotes equality of internet traffic. No one should receive preferential treatment or be discriminated against. The CRTC has laid out extensive guidelines to encourage net neutrality. These are applicable to VoIP services that operate in Canada.
  • Unsolicited telecommunications: Canadian law prescribes strict actions against unsolicited telecommunications, such as telemarketing calls. All VoIP platforms should stay diligent about these laws. To comply, they must ensure that customers don’t receive any unwanted calls or messages.
  • Intellectual property: VoIP services should ensure that their services don’t violate intellectual property rights of another business or individual. Service providers must always obtain a license or pay royalties when they use patented technology.

If you’re looking for a VoIP service provider that complies with all Canadian laws and offers top-notch VoIP service, try TextrTeam.

TextrTeam offers unlimited calling and texting in Canada and the U.S. You can send MMS (messages that include media), get toll-free numbers to allow callers to contact you for free, or receive voicemails from your clients.

Startups need a broad range of features at an affordable price, and that’s where TextrTeam can help you.

The built-in CRM lets you manage your communication with customers more effectively, while the IVR attendant reduces your support desk’s workload by directly connecting callers to the right person.

Even better, you pay only USD 10 per phone number per user every month. If that sounds interesting, you try TextrTeam for free yourself to see if it’s a fit for your business.

About the Writer

Written by Arthur

A writer specializing in marketing and technology. Enjoy diving deep into the subject matter to create informative and engaging content.