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CASL Anniversary Day

Bernice Karn of Cassels Brock Lawyers has put together a great overview of the first year of CASL enforcement:

Remember May and June of 2014? Conscientious organizations both in Canada and abroad were sending email blasts to Canadian mailing lists pleading for readers to opt in. For those of us trying to interpret the legislation, we hoped that the seemingly draconian provisions of CASL would be tempered by common sense and a realistic approach to enforcement. Surely technical breaches of CASL would not lead to significant financial penalties. Or would they?Since CASL came into force, the CRTC has reported on four enforcement actions. Here’s a snapshot of the results:

Case #1 – October 2014 – The CRTC reported that, by “working with” a small (unnamed) Saskatchewan business and its ISP, the CRTC stopped “millions” of spam messages unwittingly sent by the Saskatchewan business from its server infected with malware. From the available report, the CRTC indicated that the small business “fully cooperated” and removed all traces of the malware. No financial penalties were levied.

Case #2 – March 2015 – The CRTC issued a “Notice of Violation” to a company called Compu-Finder for breaching CASL and levied a $1.1 million penalty. This was a business to business situation in which emails without consent were allegedly sent and in which the email unsubscribe mechanism apparently did not function properly. The CRTC seemed to place special emphasis on the fact that 26% of all complaints received by the CRTC’s Spam Reporting Centre during the period of investigation were attributable to this one company.

Case #3 – March 2015 – Plentyoffish Media Inc. paid $48,000 as part of an undertaking for an alleged violation of CASL. The particular infraction committed by this company was that the “unsubscribe mechanism was not clearly and prominently set out and which could not be readily performed.” According to the CRTC’s report, Plentyoffish updated its unsubscribe mechanism “once made aware of the investigation by the CRTC.”

Case #4 – June 2015 – Porter Airlines agreed to pay $150,000 as part of an undertaking entered into with the CRTC. The CRTC alleged five CASL infractions, namely:
Sending commercial electronic messages without an unsubscribe mechanism
Sending commercial electronic messages with an unsubscribe mechanism that was not set out “clearly and prominently”
Sending commercial electronic messages that did not contain the required contact information disclosure
Failing to honour unsubscribe requests within the 10 business day time frame mandated by CASL
Failing to provide proof of consent for “each electronic address that received its commercial emails” for an approximate 8 month period

Click here to read the whole story.

This has been re-posted to the CASL Cure blog with permission from Bernice Karn of Cassels Brock Lawyers