Following up on its recent $1.1MM CASL enforcement action against Quebec executive training firm Compu-Finder (which you can read about here), the CRTC announced today that it has entered into an undertaking with online dating service operator Plenty of Fish.
According to a press release issued by the CRTC, Plenty of Fish failed to include a CASL-compliant unsubscribe mechanism in commercial e-mails to its subscribers. The violations occurred from July 1 to October 8, 2014. Plenty of Fish has now reportedly entered into an undertaking with the CRTC, an option for businesses subject to enforcement action under CASL. The CRTC states that Plenty of Fish will be required to pay a $48,000 penalty under the terms of the undertaking.
We note that the CRTC appears to be increasing the frequency of its enforcement actions under CASL. However, unlike its previous enforcement actions, the CRTC’s recent action against Plenty of Fish appears to have focused on a largely technical compliance issue – the prominence and ease of use of an unsubscribe mechanism. While the CRTC does not go into detail in its press release as to the particular deficiencies, we interpret this enforcement action as a sign from the CRTC that even technical violations of CASL may give rise to substantial regulatory penalties. We anticipate that other social media operators will wish to review their compliance plans – the CRTC press release notes that Plenty of Fish will implement a compliance training program and policy.
If your business receives a notice of violation from the CRTC, you may wish to review our recent series of blog posts on defending against a CASL enforcement action.