The CRTC has once again extracted a large sum of money from an “alleged” violator of Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL).  On November 20th, Rogers Media Inc. became the third company this year to enter into an Undertaking to resolve a CRTC investigation.  Following on the heels of the Undertakings by Plenty of Fish ($48,000) and Porter Airlines ($150,000) the Rogers payment serves as an indication of how seriously the CRTC views violations of the CASL.  Notably, all three Undertakings relate at least in part to alleged violations of s. 6 and s. 11 of CASL, which deal with consent to the receipt of commercial electronic messages and the recipient’s ability to effectively unsubscribe.

Because the complaint was resolved by an Undertaking, there are few details of the alleged violations.  What we do know is that the Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer’s investigation alleged that:

Rogers Media Inc. sent certain commercial electronic messages to email addresses that either:

  1. contained an unsubscribe mechanism that was not able to be “readily performed”;
  2. did not enable the person to indicate their wish to no longer receive messages; or
  3. did not provide an electronic address for the purposes of unsubscribing that was valid for a period of 60 days after the message was sent.

In addition, Rogers Media Inc. was alleged to have not given effect to certain unsubscribe requests within 10 business days.

As part of the Undertaking, Rogers Media agreed to improve its existing compliance program to ensure that its activities are fully compliant with CASL.

If your organization sends out commercial electronic messages, there is a pretty strong lesson in this Undertaking:  take unsubscribe seriously.  This means not only having a clear link on your messages, but making sure it works, and that you follow through on all requests.  Remember, the readers who click on your unsubscribe link and fail will happily click on the CRTCs Fight Spam link next. Filing a complaint is really easy – make sure your unsubscribe process is easier.