Canada’s CRTC Levies Fines in Two Email Spam Actions

On July 1, 2014, Canada’s anti-spam legislation (commonly referred to as CASL) came into effect with a focus on uninvited commercial electronic messages (CEMs), including commercial-related emails.  While aspects of the Canadian law are similar to the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act, which sets forth specific compliance requirements for unsolicited commercial email messages sent within the U.S., CASL is arguably stricter in that it requires affirmative consent by the recipient.

The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has lost no time in enforcing the new CASL requirements. On March 5, 2015, the CRTC announced a Notice of Violation along with a proposed CDN $1.1 million against Compu-Finder, a Canadian technical training company, for sending multiple emails without recipient consent and for which the unsubscribe mechanism did not work properly.  Close on the heels of that action, the CRTC issued an Undertaking (essentially a settlement agreement) that included a monetary penalty of CDN $48,000 with Plentyoffish Media, Inc., a Canadian online dating site, for sending email messages that did not have a sufficiently prominent or working unsubscribe feature.

Both these recent actions highlight the seriousness with which the CRTC apparently intends to enforce the CASL email rules.

For more information on this topic, contact your Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Counsel at Smith, Gambrell & Russell.

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