CASL News – CRTC Issues $1.1 Million Penalty

CASL News – CRTC Issues $1.1 Million Penalty

On July 1, 2014, the provisions of Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) that regulate commercial electronic messages (CEMs) came into force. What this means is that in order to send a commercial electronic message (CEM) you now need to prove that you have the recipient’s consent.

A March 5, 2015 Government of Canada news release announces that “the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunication Commission’s (CRTC’s) Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer issued a Notice of Violation to Compu-Finder, which includes a penalty of $1.1 million, for breaking Canada’s anti-spam law.”1

Key Facts About This CASL News
The release provides detail on why this situation is noteworthy, such as:

  • “Compu-Finder had sent commercial emails without consent, as well as messages in which the unsubscribe mechanisms did not function properly.
  • To help Canadian businesses comply with the law, the CRTC has provided numerous information sessions across the country and made guidance materials available on its website.
  • The CRTC is working with its partners, both within Canada and internationally, to protect Canadians from online threats and contribute to a more secure online environment.
  • Canada’s anti-spam law protects Canadians while ensuring that businesses can continue to compete in the global marketplace.”2

Visit the Government of Canada’s News Release site to read this article in its entirety.

How Do You Acquire Consent?
There are two types of consent: express and implied. If a recipient gives you written or oral permission to send messages, you have express consent. This could come from a recipient checking a box on your website, signing a form or leaving a voicemail message for you. Express consent never expires, although a recipient can revoke it at any time by unsubscribing.

Good practice will be to obtain express consent from as many clients and prospects as possible. If you have a pre-existing business or non-business relationship with the recipient, you have implied consent. Implied consent could come from an exchange of business cards or finding a prospect’s email address listed on his or her company website. You also have implied consent automatically from your current clients and active prospective clients.

What’s the Timeframe for CASL Compliance?
There is a three-year transitional period written into the law that allows senders who have implied consent from recipients to contact the recipients and obtain express consent. Following the three-year period, implied consent expires after six months if a prospect does not become a client, or after two years if a client does not renew the relationship.

Fines & Penalties For Breaching CASL
Organizations that don’t comply with CASL risk serious penalties, including criminal charges, civil charges, personal liability for company officers and directors, and penalties up to $10 million.

Is CASL Insurance Available?
Yes. CASL Insurance is available and there are a limited number of insurers that will provide coverage for defence costs associated with responding to CASL allegations as a standalone product. In addition, there are also a few insurers who have products that provide coverage for defence costs and fines and penalties.

Speak to an ALIGNED Insurance Advocate to learn about CASL insurance and steps you can take to protect your organization from CASL fines & penalties.

Sources: 1, 2 Government of Canada

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