#CyberFLASH: First target of Canada’s Anti-Spam Law, fined $1.1 million

image-9Last week, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (“CRTC” or the “Commission”) issued its first Notice of Violation under Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (“CASL”). Canadian corporate training company compu.finder Inc. (“Compu-Finder”) has received a fine of $1.1 million for allegedly sending email without the recipients’ consent or a properly functioning unsubscribe mechanism.

What is CASL, and why is Canada targeting marketers for unsolicited commercial electronic messaging?

Canada’s Anti-Spam Law

CASL became effective in July of last year. The anti-spam law forbids marketers from sending commercial electronic messages (“CEMs”), installing computer programs and/or collecting email addresses using computer programs without obtaining the express consent of consumers. Additionally, CASL prohibits making false or misleading representations in electronic messages and collecting personal information through unauthorized access.

The CRTC, Competition Bureau and Office of the Privacy Commissioner are tasked with enforcing and regulating CASL. These agencies launched an online Spam Reporting Centre so that consumers, businesses and other organizations can report marketers’ unlawful conduct. Organizations that violate CASL risk criminal and civil charges, personal liability for officers and directors and fines of up to $1 million for individuals and $10 million for businesses.

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