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Canada’s Anti-Spam Law – One Year Later

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Canada’s Anti-Spam Law – One Year Later

Posted June 15, 2015

It has been almost one year since most of Canada’s Anti Spam Law[1] (CASL) came into force and, in addition to other requirements, individuals and businesses became obliged to obtain consent from a recipient prior to sending them a commercial electronic message. CASL provides the Canadian Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) with a wide range of enforcement tools.

After much speculation about what enforcement would look like, earlier this year enforcement actions arose in relation to two businesses regarding their alleged violations of CASL.

3510395 Canada Inc. (o/a Compu Finder) – Notice of Violation

After receiving complaints, the CRTC investigated and issued a notice of violation against Compu Finder for failing to obtain consent from individuals prior to sending commercial electronic messages. Additionally those messages failed to adhere to CASL’s requirements regarding unsubscribe mechanisms. Compu Finder was ordered to pay an administrative monetary penalty of $1.1 million dollars.

Plentyoffish Media Inc. – Undertaking

Upon receiving notification that they were being investigated by the CRTC, online dating site Plentyoffish Media Inc., entered into an undertaking with the CRTC to create and follow a corporate compliance program and to pay $48,000 for its alleged violations in relation to unsubscribe requirements in their commercial electronic messages. Plentyoffish subsequently implemented compliant unsubscribe mechanisms.

While there have only been two reported enforcement actions to date, they provide individuals and businesses with important take aways:

  • The CRTC is acting quickly and swiftly investigating complaints
  • Enforcement can take many shapes
  • Compliance with all aspects of the law is important (i.e., getting consent is not enough; your messages have to comply with all of the legislated requirements)
  • Monetary penalties are significant

If you have not already done so, it would be a good idea to turn your mind to your business’ activities in relation to CASL, including developing and implementing training for employees, creating policies and procedures, monitoring of consents and unsubscribes, and ensuring you have accurate and reliable record keeping. Ensuring the proper processes have been followed will likely reduce the likelihood of complaints being filed against your business and of investigations by the CRTC.

Should you require assistance with the above or for more information please don’t hesitate to contact our offices to set up a consultation.

For more information on the Act or the enforcement actions please visit:

http://fightspam.gc.ca/eic/site/030.nsf/eng/home

[1] An Act to promote the efficiency and adaptability of the Canadian economy by regulating certain activities that discourage reliance on electronic means of carrying out commercial activities, and to amend the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Act, the Competition Act, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and the Telecommunications Act, S.C. 2010, c. 23

Lacey Miller is a member of the Business Law team and can be reached at 613-369-0375 or at lacey.miller@mannlawyers.com.

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